Illinois lawmakers are soon to feel the same pressure felt by thousands of others across the state of Illinois, after a recent move by the Illinois comptroller to withhold their pay until they can agree to a new budget.
Secretary of State Jesse White (D), who spent Tuesday morning in Rockford, recognizing nurses at Swedish American hospital for their hard work, took a much more somber tone when talking about the state’s budget crisis – now unresolved for ten months.
“I’m embarrassed by some of the things that are happening in Springfield with regard to the General Assembly and the governor,” White said.
Some social service organizations have been forced to shut down programs, and White says residents are suffering,
“A lot of people are dying, a lot of people are suffering, a lot of programs have gone under,” said the Secretary of State. “And it’s important for them to discharge these responsibilities.”
While a state budget has yet to be agreed to, lawmakers have continued collecting their checks.
But, due to a new decision by Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Munger (R), they’ll have to wait. Munger says there isn’t enough money in Illlinois’ coffers to cover the $1.3 million a month it costs to pay state officials. So, although her office will continue to process lawmaker’s paychecks, they won’t receive the money right away, as the payments will be added to the state’s backlog of unpaid bills.
“It is the right thing to do,” said Munger. “And if this action helps bring all sides together to pass a balanced budget and end this unnecessary and devastating hardship to our state, that is an added benefit.”
The pressure is now on for lawmakers who, just like other state funded groups, will have to wait for a state budget to pass before being paid.
Senator Dave Syverson (R) says that as servants of the people, they need to lead by example.
“Once both sides are willing to sit down and negotiate, and put the people of Illinois first – before politics, once that happens, you’ll see a quick resolution. And I think, as some of these legislators throughout the state feel the pressure of not getting paid, they’ll put more pressure on the speaker to get serious about negotiating,” said Syverson.