SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — Lawmakers passed a law to raise several elected officials’ pay ahead of their inauguration into the new term.
The legislation raises the salary of all statewide officers, agency directors, and legislators. While Pritzker does not take a salary, the new pay for governors is $205,700 yearly. The Lieutenant Governor, Comptroller and Treasurer all are getting a 14% raise, while the Attorney General and Secretary of State get an 11% pay increase. Legislators’ base pay for the next term is $85,000, an 18% increase.
The Illinois House of Representatives introduced and voted on the legislation Friday night, and the Illinois Senate voted on it Sunday evening. Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the bill into law Monday morning.
Pritzker said the bill was inspired by the need of keeping agency director’s salaries competitive with the private sector. As negotiations developed, constitutional officers and legislators were added into the bill.
He defended the bill, saying it’s important for government workers to remain close to private sector jobs and many positions have not received pay raises in over a decade.
“While I know people are willing to take a discounted salary off of what they might get in the private sector to come to a public service, you really have to be somewhat competitive,” the governor said on Saturday. “People are putting their kids through college, or they’re paying their home mortgage or their rent. You can’t ask people to take 50% of what they were taking in the private sector.”
The bill was largely opposed by Republican legislators in both chambers, with some calling it “an insult to the hard-working people of our state”.
“Fiscal responsibility doesn’t exist in the state of Illinois,” Sen. Neil Anderson (R-Moline) said. “This vote was just another example of politicians lining their own pockets while residents continue to suffer from high taxes and monetary mismanagement.”
Pritzker and other statewide officials will be inaugurated on Monday. The state representatives and senators will be inaugurated on Wednesday.