* AP at 2:20 this afternoon…
Illinois lawmakers are in line for a pay raise after a paperwork mix-up that went uncorrected.
The House adjourned its spring session Saturday without taking action on a measure that would have frozen base legislative salaries at $67,836. That means that lawmakers would receive an estimated $1,600 annual pay increase if Gov. J.B. Pritzker signs the budget.
It would be the first pay raise for legislators since 2008. But Senate Democrats conceded during debate on the budget Friday night that an agreed-to freeze on a cost-of-living increase was not in legislation authorizing the spending plan. So they amended another bill to prohibit the COLA and sent it to the House.
The House took no action. Democratic House Majority Leader Greg Harris of Chicago noted there were no questions about the COLA during debate on the budget.
Steve Brown is spokesman for Chicago Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan. He says he’s not aware of a COLA but said there’s an increase for lawmakers’ office expenses.
The bill they amended was HB837. It passed the Senate 58-0 after Friday’s midnight deadline. Several Senators quickly jumped on as co-sponsors.
The original House sponsor was Rep. Stephanie Kifowit (D-Oswego), but on Saturday Rep. Thaddeus Jones (D-Calumet City) became the chief sponsor and quickly filed a motion to non-concur with the Senate amendment. The motion was never called for a vote.
* AP at 3:53 this afternoon…
The COLA issue arose Friday night as the Senate debated budget-implementation language. The sponsor, Chicago Democratic Sen. Heather Steans, was surprised to learn that an agreed-to freeze on COLAs was absent from the legislation. [Senate] Democrats remedied the omission by adding the prohibition to another bill they sent to the House, but the House took no action.
“You should go and ask the House why they didn’t pass the bill that we sent them,” Steans said. “Most folks get annual cost-of-living increases in their jobs, or are evaluated for them. It’s not an outrageous expectation that more than once in a 10-year period we’d get them.”
Steve Brown, spokesman for Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, said he was unaware of a pay increase. He said the budget included an increase in reimbursement for legislators’ district office expenses. […]
“Illinois citizens are sick and tired of secret insider budget deals that enrich Springfield politicians at the expense of hardworking taxpayers who are getting hit with massive tax increases,” said [Rep. David McSweeney, R-Barrington Hills], who voted “no” on the budget.
The salary freeze plan that the Senate sent to the House required only a vote to concur. Rep. Thaddeus Jones, a Calumet City Democrat, filed a motion to non-concur in the freeze. Calling the motion for a vote would have forced House members to vote in favor or against rejecting the freeze.
I don’t necessarily begrudge them the pay hikes. It’s been eleven years since the last one and they’ve done a whole lot this year, unlike past years. But I’m thinking there was no “paperwork mix-up.”
…Adding… The entire House GOP caucus plus Democratic Rep. Carol Ammons signed on to a bill introduced in February (HB2965) to prevent the pay raise.