SPRINGFIELD, ILL. (IRN) – Facing a massive budget deficit, some Illinois lawmakers are willing to sacrifice part of their own pay to balance the books…but will all of them go along with it?
Members of the House voted Tuesday to cut their own pay by about $7,000 a year. The bill, which would also cut pay for state senators, now heads to the Illinois Senate.
Freshman State Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) sponsored the bill. She says the 10 percent pay decrease and indefinite suspension of cost of living adjustments for lawmakers is something she campaigned on. State Rep. Will Davis (D-Homewood) questioned her on the House floor.
“Do your constituents feel that members of the General Assembly aren’t deserving of what they get paid to be down here?” asked Davis.
“Yes…they are very angry right now,” said Mussman. “They really feel that we do not get what they are going through, that they have all taken pay cuts, they’ve lost their jobs, and we are not taking pay cuts. We’ve done nothing to demonstrate that we are in this situation with them.”
Base pay for lawmakers right now is about $68,000 a year. The 10 percent cut would bring that figure to about $61,000. In addition, lawmakers are already taking 12 unpaid furlough days.
The Illinois House voted 85-14 in favor of the pay cuts.
HB 2891 now heads to the Illinois Senate. If it passes, it won’t take effect until January 2013.