State Representative Avery Bourne (R-Raymond) has joined with colleagues from the Illinois House of Representatives urging Comptroller Mendoza to continue supporting the principle of “No Budget, No Pay”.
The Legislators are requesting that the newly-elected Comptroller continue the delayed payment of legislator salaries. This delay was enacted as a response to the lack of budget and put lawmakers’ payments in line with payments to all others owed by the State of Illinois.
“We are asking the Comptroller to continue to live up to her promise of ‘no budget, no pay’,” said Bourne. “Politicians should not get preferential treatment over social service agencies and vendors.” Currently, the wait for payment is six months or longer and the State’s backlog of bills totals over $11 billion.
The letter to Comptroller Mendoza is signed by numerous Republican House Members and reads as follows:
“We applaud you for supporting the principle of “No Budget No Pay” with regard to state payment of legislator salaries and for following through on your promise to keep the policy in place upon taking office. We also appreciate your service to the people of Illinois as a former State Representative and look forward to working with you in your new role as our State Comptroller during these challenging times for our state.
On December 2, 2016, six of our Democratic colleagues filed a lawsuit against then-Comptroller Leslie Munger for delaying payment of legislator salaries. While we understand that they are making a legal argument that legislators and other state elected officials are required to be paid, we believe that there is a compelling counter legal argument that the members of the Illinois General Assembly should not be paid. We as members of the General Assembly have the ability to resolve the budget situation and we, therefore, bear a strong degree of responsibility that the Comptroller does not have the funds to meet the state’s obligations.
It is also important to note that legislative pay is only being delayed, not suspended. Our empathy lies entirely with the hardships the budget impasse has had on vendors, social service providers and others who rely upon the state to meet its financial obligations. The lives of these individuals and families are being irreparably harmed and businesses are literally being destroyed by the present budget situation.
We do not believe that payment of legislator salaries should be prioritized over the funding of health care and social service providers or others enduring the long delay in state payments. Due to the fact that the Attorney General has a conflict of interest, we strongly advise the Comptroller to use Independent Counsel to defend itself against the lawsuit filed by the six Democratic legislators earlier this month. Thank you for your consideration and attention to this matter.”