No Work, No Pay In Illinois


have no money

Oh, that great state of Illinois, the land of Lincoln. You make us all proud today. We're especially proud of your Comptroller Judy Topinka.

Judy Topinka

Here's the background, from Tammy Webber as reported by the Associated Press.

CHICAGO (AP) -- Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Thursday that she has no choice but to withhold lawmakers' paychecks, citing a precedent-setting court case that bars her from paying state employees without a budget appropriation or court order.

Gov. Pat Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators' paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month, saying it wouldn't be restored until lawmakers addressed the state's $97 billion pension shortfall. He also suspended his own pay.

"It is my deep hope that this matter is resolved expeditiously," either by a court or by lawmakers agreeing on a solution to the pension crisis, said Topinka, who undertook a legal review to determine if Quinn's actions were constitutional.

Oh, how lovely it would be if this sort of gentle nudge (though the lawmakers call it extortion) would be put upon a number of other public elected officials. Then watch how quickly they move. You're going to see land speed records set for passing a pension protection bill in the Illinois house. August 1 is the next due date for a legislative payment. Who doesn't think that within ten days they have a bill, it's voted on, passed and signed?

A provision of the Illinois Constitution says changes in lawmaker salary should not take effect during the term in which they were elected. But Quinn cited the prior court ruling and said he isn't changing their salary, just withholding the money to pay it.

Quinn, a Chicago Democrat who used his line-item veto power in a budget bill to suspend the pay as a way to spur lawmakers to action, issued a statement saying Topinka came to the right conclusion and reiterating his vow to hold fast on his decision.

"Nobody should be paid until the job gets done for taxpayers," Quinn said.

Perhaps if we could get an executive decision by Obama, not to change congressional salaries, but just not fund the account that the moneys are paid from, maybe we wouldn't have so much gridlock. Maybe there is a legal way around this time-wasting that the GOP is so fond of. They want to be obstructionists? Let them. Just don't collect a viable check while doing it.

Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

  • countryrose

    You are so right Sally, Enough is enough.

  • Sally

    Right now we're paying the US Congress to hold town hall meetings to encourage people to revolt against the health care they deserve, and to campaign for their jobs. We are paying them to work against us. Enough is enough.

  • Sally

    Makes a lot more sense than shutting down the government AND paying the idiots who make life hard for everyone but themselves. Come on, Mr. President, the next time Cantor calls a 5 week vacation when works needs done, they take it with NO PAY! let's start a petition!

  • countryrose

    I agree. I've been saying that for a long time. They should not get paid if they do not put the hours in and have concrete work done. No one else I know gets paid to do nothing.

  • countryrose

    As usual! There needs to be a law against them taking money out of pensions. They should take It out of their pay FIRST. They are the ones that made the mess in the first place.

  • But that would be socialism-Marxism-Communism-derp-Maoism.

  • oh dear god.

  • Roger Matile

    They aren't trying to protect public pensions; they're arguing about how much to cut them and/or whether to cut health care, too, for public employees, including teachers. Starting in the 1980s, the state borrowed extensively from state pension plans to pay their bills instead of raising taxes. Meanwhile, teachers, firefighters, and all other public employees were required to contribute hefty percentages of their salaries to their pension plans. Which they did. The state had promised to contribute to them, too, but state leaders, starting with Gov. Jim Thompson, decided, hey, what the heck, we'll just take all that money for ourselves. Now it's come to the point the state is facing bankruptcy and instead of taking the money back from the legislators and other elected officials who stole it, they want to take it away from public employees, both retired and still working. The solution is simple: Raise taxes to pay the damned bills.

  • juicyfruityyy

    I like the thought of Congress, not receiving paychecks. Also, they should not be able to receive back-pay, when the do agree on a budget and pay their bills.