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Lame-duck Illinois Lawmakers Vote Themselves a 16% Raise

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Illinois House Democrats working in a lame-duck session left town for a weekend break Friday night — but not before voting on plans to give themselves a pay raise of nearly 16%.

Legislation authorizing funds to be added for spending needs halfway through the state’s fiscal year includes an $11,655 raise in base pay, to $85,000. It won approval from the Democratic-controlled House by a 63-35 vote.

A raise of 15.9% is unheard of in recent times.

Secretive House action in 2019 inserted a 2.4% cost-of-living adjustment to increase base salaries to about $67,800. It was the first increase since 2008.

Republican State Representatives Dave Severin of Benton and Patrick Windhorst of Metropolis were among House Republicans voting against the measure.

Severin released the following statement: “Illinois Democrats just don’t get it. People are struggling with decades high inflation. People can’t afford Joe Biden, JB Pritzker, and Illinois Democrats’ energy bills. People can’t afford food and basic necessities. People are working two jobs to make ends meet. And Democrats think they deserve a big fat pay raise. I am insulted for the people I represent that are working hard to feed themselves and their families in this atrocious economy. I voted NO and I would hope that Governor Pritzker would exercise his veto authority to stop this madness from becoming the law of the land.”

Windhorst also released a statement: “It’s becoming a pattern,” Windhorst said. “Late on a Friday night, when no one is paying attention, supermajority Democrats passed a massive pay increase for Illinois politicians. Inflation is at a 40-year high, energy costs are crippling family budgets, and working people are falling behind. I voted no on raising politician pay. The Democrats that approved this increase have proven time and again they are not in step with the plight of ordinary working people that are trying to feed themselves and their families and meet their most basic needs. I urge Governor Pritzker to exercise his veto authority to curb the excesses of the supermajority. A pay increase for politicians is totally and completely inappropriate.”

(Information provided by The Associated Press and news releases from State Reps. Severin and Windhorst.)