The Illinois state budget that looks to spend $50.6 billion in the next fiscal year was signed by Governor JB Pritzker today. Included in the spending plan was a pay hike for lawmakers, something the majority Democrats approved for themselves.
House Republicans have been vocal about their opposition to the pay raise, which brings the base pay for a state lawmaker to nearly $90,000 when the new fiscal year starts July 1st.
House Republican Leader Tony McCombie was outspoken during the debate of the budget bill, calling the pay raise unconstitutional–as lawmaker pay was already increased once this year starting January 1st and was above 5% making it above the constitutional limit.
“This raise is in direct violation of the Illinois Constitution. A raise can only take effect the next General Assembly,” McCombie said during the bills debate. “You have created a constitutional problem with this budget.”
Article IV, section 11 of the Illinois Constitution dealing with the legislature states, “A member shall receive a salary and allowances as provided by law, but changes in the salary of a member shall not take effect during the term for which he has been elected.”
It is up to state lawmakers to pass legislation to deny that automatic pay hike, which the Democrat majority prevented from moving forward.
Before signing the budget this morning, Governor Pritzker had to issue a reduction veto, reducing the lawmaker pay raise to 5% to keep it constitutional.
“While Illinois families struggle, Governor Pritzker decreased the politician pay raise a paltry .5%,” said McCombie. “While this change may make it constitutional, it does not make it right. House Republicans will continue to hold the majority party accountable to not only our constitutional rights but also to Illinois taxpayers.”