Following a recent court ruling that put legislator paychecks ahead of other outstanding financial obligations, Senator Neil Anderson (Andalusia) has co-sponsored legislation that would provide greater flexibility to place priorities, like funding for hospitals, human services, and universities, ahead of legislator and constitutional officer pay.
“As the budget stalemate continues, we have hundreds of vendors, service providers, and agencies who provide vital services to the people of Illinois that have been waiting months for reimbursement from the state. There is absolutely no reason that I should be getting a paycheck before they get the funding they need to provide services to our state’s most vulnerable populations,” said Anderson. “This legislation puts the best interests of the people of this state, ahead of the interests of legislators.”
Last spring, as the state struggled to meet its obligations amid the ongoing budget impasse, former Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger chose to place legislators’ paychecks in line with other outstanding obligations. In December, a group of six legislators filed a lawsuit asking that their pay be put ahead of overdue funding for vital services.
On March 24th, the Cook County Circuit Court ruled in favor of those legislators, citing an Illinois law that provides a continuing appropriation for legislative salaries. The legislation Anderson has co-sponsored would specifically authorize the Comptroller to delay salary payments to members of the Illinois General Assembly and constitutional officers.
Under Senate Bill 989, the Comptroller is authorized to delay monthly salary payments to legislators if there are insufficient funds in the state’s General Revenue Fund to pay all other obligations within 90 days after a voucher requesting reimbursement has been submitted to the Comptroller.
“This is an easy choice. Lawmakers who haven’t passed a budget shouldn’t be getting moved to the front of the line, while services for the state’s most vulnerable are put in jeopardy.