Bomke, Brady get their wish
votes down legislative pay raises
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[August 13, 2008]
SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois Senate
members voted 47-0 Tuesday against the hefty pay raise of almost 12
percent for elected officials. The raise would have boosted base
salaries by more than $7,000 a year, and more for legislative
leaders. Senate President Emil Jones, a strong proponent of a raise
for himself, voted "present," along with two other Democratic
senators. It was the only action taken on the first day of a two-day
special session called by Gov. Rod Blagojevich to address education
funding and a $25 billion capital plan
State Sen. Bomke, R-50th District, an opponent of the raise since it
was proposed, said, "In a time where Illinois is facing a massive
budget crisis, a bump in salary is the last thing that should be
taking place, I cannot comprehend how a pay raise can be considered
at a time when the state is incapable of paying its existing bills."
State Sen. Brady, R-44th District, who was against such a raise
since it was introduced in May, stated, "I do not support the pay
raises, I am pleased that the Senate president allowed the Senate to
vote on the issue of pay raises for legislators, state officials and
judges before the election, instead of just letting the pay raises
take effect after the election."
But even after the vote against the raises, state officials will
still get a 3.8 percent cost-of-living increase.
Earlier this year, a special panel called the Compensation Review
Board recommended that state officials get small raises as well as
money to make up for increases that had been blocked in past years.
Lawmakers would see their basic salaries jump more than $7,000 a
year, to nearly $73,000. Legislative leaders' compensation would top
$100,000, and the governor's salary would rise $20,000, to $190,000.
Unless lawmakers specifically rejected the board's
recommendation, the raises would take effect automatically. The
House voted against them in May, but the Senate had taken no action,
leaving the issue to be decided after the fall election.
But with Blagojevich calling lawmakers back to Springfield
Tuesday for a special session, the Senate faced calls to vote now on
whether to take the money.
[to top of second column]
Jones, D-Chicago, who voted "present" on the raise, called opponents
"hypocrites" for objecting to the money while accepting a 3.8
percent cost-of-living increase included in this year's budget.
Legislative critics from both parties labeled Tuesday's special
session a sham.
The Democratic governor ordered lawmakers to hold a special
session on education funding, but he offered no proposals for them
to consider or even a suggestion of what he wanted to accomplish.
The House met for about 20 minutes and then adjourned.
"It's a sham. It's a shame. It's a farce," said House Minority
Leader Tom Cross, R-Oswego.
But all Democrats, not just Blagojevich, share the blame for
paralysis in Springfield, Cross said.
"You have the House, the Senate and the (governor's) mansion, and
you've accomplished absolutely nothing," Cross said.
news releases from Sens.