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Illinois lawmakers to take 12 unpaid furlough days under law signed by Gov. Pat Quinn Saturday

Updated: June 22, 2013 7:18PM



Illinois lawmakers will take a pay cut starting next month under legislations signed into law on Saturday by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The measure, introduced by state Rep. Michelle Mussman (D-Schaumburg) and approved by both houses with broad bipartisan support, requires members of the General Assembly to take one unpaid furlough day a month in fiscal year 2014, which starts July 1. It also prohibits cost-of-living increases for state officials and freezes lodging, meal and mileage reimbursement rates.

The new law won’t affect pension calculations.

Mussman, who was re-elected to a second term in November, has said the move will show people that elected officials are sharing in the burden of the state’s financial problems.

Illinois has the worst credit rating of any state because of ballooning pension costs. Its pension liability is also the nation’s worst — about $97 billion.

The state’s lawmakers are among the highest paid in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, with a base salary of $67,836 and leadership posts and committee roles providing additional boosts. Many also get full-time salaries in outside positions.

Mussman also introduced legislation last year to permanently cut legislators’ pay by 10 percent. The bill passed the House but failed to win Senate approval.

Quinn has called lawmakers back to Springfield for another special session July 9 to deal with pensions. The General Assembly adjourned a special session on Wednesday after voting to form a 10-member committee to deal specifically with the pension problem.



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