Madison County voter says lawmakers who accept raises 'are not putting their constituents first'
Doug Dial, a conservative activist in the Madison County area, argues that state lawmakers giving themselves a pay raise as part of the state’s new $40 billion budget proves just how off-course things have become in Springfield.
“Illinois lawmakers are among the highest paid in the nation and they have the best pension plan,” Dial told the Metro East Sun. “If they truly cared about the middle class or anyone in Illinois, they would forego any raise.”
Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker has wasted little time in turning the budget proposal into law, formally signing off late last month on legislation that gives lawmakers a $1,600 annual increase, raising their salaries to nearly $70,000 along with other perks for what is essentially part-time work. The new pay rates are set to formally take effect on July 1. As recently as 2016, Illinois Policy Institute (IPI) reports that lawmakers in Illinois were already among the five best-paid state legislators in the U.S. Including pensions, IPI estimates that annual pay to lawmakers costs the state more than $32 million a year.
“I do not support the pay raise and the politicians need to decide whether they serve their constituents or they serve themselves,” Dial said. “They are not putting their constituents first.”
Dial declined to comment on the fact that Republican Rep. Charlie Meier (Okawville), who represents parts of Madison County, voted in favor of the Democratic governor's budget and therefore the pay raises. More than 40 Republican House members have signed a resolution rejecting the increases, with state Rep. Tim Butler (R-Springfield) lamenting on social media how House Speaker Mike Madigan refused to call a bill to the floor that could have blocked the pay hikes.