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Illinois Governor Stops Lawmaker Pay

Jul 10, 2013

Illinois lawmakers have repeatedly missed Governor Pat Quinn's deadlines for fixing the state’s pension systems, so he is using his veto power to prevent legislators from getting paid.

Quinn said he cannot "in good conscience" allow lawmakers to collect their paychecks until they pass legislation to address Illinois' massive pension underfunding.

“I really feel this is the leverage that the taxpayers need in order to get this done,” Quinn said.

Governor Pat Quinn

Speaking before TV cameras in Chicago, Quinn said he won't accept anything that doesn't completely erase the $100 billion liability.

“We're not going to do something that's just for showbiz."

But Quinn's critics said it's his actions that are largely for show.

I really feel this is the leverage that the taxpayers need

Republican candidate for governor Bruce Rauner called it a “stunt,” while potential Democratic rival Bill Daley said Quinn is “long on press conferences and short on results.”

Quinn did get a vote of confidence from House Speaker Michael Madigan, who said he understands the governor's frustration and is "hopeful his strategy works."

Madigan has the sole power over whether lawmakers can vote to restore their salaries before their next payday, which is August 1.

Meanwhile, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka questioned whether Quinn has the authority to withhold pay.

Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka

In a written release, Topinka said, “While I understand and appreciate the Governor's focus on pension reform, real questions have been raised about the legality of his action.

“Specifically, Section 11 of our State Constitution states that 'changes in the salary of a member shall not take effect during the term for which he has been elected.'

“Therefore, I have requested a legal review which should be completed before lawmakers are scheduled to receive their next paychecks on August 1, 2013."