ROCKFORD (WREX) –Illinois lawmakers won’t be getting their paychecks on time, possibly until the budget impasse ends.
That’s according to State Comptroller Leslie Munger. She made the announcement in Chicago Sunday. Munger says it isn’t fair that lawmakers and other officeholders including herself are paid on time during this budget crisis while social services have to wait.
The comptroller’s office says Illinois is strapped for cash during this budget crisis because the state is being ordered to fund most government operations at 2015 levels, but there’s less revenue now compared to 2015 because the state income tax hike expired. So they’re trying to find money any way they can. Now, instead of going to officeholders including Munger and to elected officials, Munger’s office says money that would normally be spent on these paychecks will be given to social services in desperate need of funding because of the impasse. The office couldn’t say which organizations will get this money, but that thousands have been impacted financially statewide due to lack of funding because of the budget stalemate. According to Munger’s office, lawmakers and officeholders are required to receive paychecks, but the law doesn’t say when they have to get their checks, so it’s one of few areas where state leaders have some leeway.
Until a balanced budget is approved, lawmakers and officeholders’ paychecks could each be delayed by about six weeks. It’s unclear when that spending plan will be passed.
13 News reached out to Rockford area lawmakers about the comptroller’s announcement. Democratic 67th District Representative Litesa Wallace says she saw this coming and says she hopes the impasse ends soon so everyone can get the pay they deserve, most importantly social services. Illinois legislators make around $70,000 a year and that is Wallace’s only source of income.
“I have to be as resourceful as all the agencies who’ve suffered through this budget impasse you have you have to include those same methods with your own home budget. I don’t support any worker going to work and not being paid for their work,” Wallace said over the phone Sunday.
Republican 68th District Representative John Cabello says it’s ridiculous that the impasse has lasted 10 months. He supports the comptroller’s decision, but says he will have to make some financial adjustments while paychecks are delayed.
“The one thing that isn’t like a business is that I can’t shut my doors. I’ll be calling my mortgage company to work something out. I think that everybody should be paid before we are. I think that would make sure that the majority gets their act together and starts doing their jobs,” Cabello says.
In addition to being a lawmaker, Cabello also works part-time as an administrator for a company called Stewart & Associates.