ILLINOIS (WCIA) — Wednesday, Governor Bruce Rauner signed a law freezing lawmakers’ salaries and the cost of perks like travel expenses.
The law went into effect immediately and will stay in place for the entire Fiscal Year 2018. Many say they’re excited to see taxpayer money be spent elsewhere.
As the state racked up billions in unpaid bills, and dozens of agencies were making cuts, lawmakers were doing just the opposite. Each year, their pay was on the rise, along with taxpayers’ frustrations.
“I’m very upset on how everything’s been done with the budget the last three years.”
“It’s a mess.”
Two special sessions later, feelings have only soured.
“They’re using kids as pawns. It’s sad.”
Each day after deadline, taxpayers pick up a nearly $50,000 tab to bring lawmakers back to the Capitol.
“They need to work together.”
They finally did.
“Very good step for the taxpayer’s interest out front where they belong.”
With the stroke of a pen, Governor Rauner places a freeze on lawmakers’ pay and per diem perks like travel expenses, lodging fees and mileage costs. Nearly every lawmaker voted “yes” on the bill and taxpayers rejoiced.
“Step in the right direction.”
“This makes me very happy because, I think they need to be accountable for what they do.”
“I think that’s maybe an incentive.”
Many people say they think the freeze is warranted. Many hope the pay cut will spark a change of pace in the Capitol.
“Something needs to be done to get the legislature to do the right thing.”
Lawmakers’ pay increases every year.
Several lawmakers released statements following the governor’s signature. Many said they agree with taxpayers saying a pay increase was inappropriate during the state’s fiscal crisis.
Without the legislation, per diem rates for legislators would have increased from $111 to $142 and mileage reimbursements would have climbed from $0.39 to $0.535 per mile.