Sunday, Dec 8, 2013
Illinois Lawmakers Get Their Backpay
WSIL -- Many Illinois legislators saw a big bump in their bank accounts Friday. It's their first paycheck since Governor Quinn vetoed the legislature's salary back on July 10, a little more than $11,000. Many are glad to have the money back.
"I put myself in a situation where I shifted money around, did things like that to cover bills. My banker didn't come after me. But there are other legislators out there that this puts some financial strain on them, even to the point of possible bankruptcy," says Representative Mike Bost.
Bost says he had no doubt the veto would not stand and agrees with the Cook County judge's ruling that the move was unconstitutional. But the governor has appealed the ruling, saying no one should be paid until there is a pension solution. Bost calls it a game of politics.
"I understand the voting public, and rightfully so, they want to make sure that we're getting the job done, but I don't think it did anything to help speed along the process of working on the pension system. Actually, it maybe even hindered it," explains Bost.
Chicago Senator Kwame Raoul, who chairs a conference committee working on a pension deal, says the move hasn't made the group work any faster, but if it was allowed to stand, it would have set a dangerous precedent.
"If the judge was to upheld the governor's action, any governor in the future, on any issue, however big or small, could decide, 'Oh, well I'm going to veto legislators pay.'"
Senator Dave Luechtefeld hopes the ruling will clue in the governor and other lawmakers on how to go about a pension deal, to make sure it, too, can hold up in court.
"I do believe something will pass, I don't believe it will be constitutional and then we'll have to deal with that," says Luechtefeld.
Luechtefeld and Bost both believe a deal will likely be struck on a pension bill before the start of the fall veto session. That begins on October 22.
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