Pay hike rejected

After extensive criticism from Republican lawmakers and Gov. Bruce Rauner, a two-percent pay hike for lawmakers that took effect on July 1 was rejected in the House on July 28 by a vote of 101-1.  House Bill 576 has been sent to the Senate, and could be considered by Senate lawmakers when they convene on Aug. 4.

Because of the way that state law is written, legislators are automatically given a cost-of-living adjustment—essentially a pay increase—each fiscal year. Though lawmakers rejected these automatic pay increases in past years, the Democrat-controlled Legislature failed to stop the automatic pay increase from taking effect in Fiscal Year 2016.

In response, Senate Republican lawmakers joined together to sponsor Senate Bill 1083, which removed the cost-of-living adjustment; however, that bill was not called by Democrat leadership for a vote in the Senate.

Republican legislators joined Gov. Rauner in criticizing the pay hikes, and called for Democrats to take action on Republican legislation to eliminate the cost-of-living adjustment for the next fiscal year.

The original salary increase called for an additional $1,600 for cost-of-living expenses to be added to legislators’ base salaries. If allowed to go into effect, the automatic pay increase would cost the state approximately $283,200 per year.

Chapin Rose

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