Illinios House approves pay hike for legisators, governor. newstrendslive

Springfield — The Illinois House voted late Friday to give pay raises to lawmakers starting with those sworn in for a new term next week, while also boosting the salaries of the governor and other statewide officials and the heads of agencies appointed by the governor.

The pay raises would boost the annual salary of rank-and-file lawmakers to $85,000 from the current rate of $72,906, a nearly 17% increase. The House approved the plan on a 63-35 vote without any Republican support.

The raises still would need to be approved in the Senate and signed into law by Gov. J.B. Pritzker before he’s sworn in for a second term Monday.

The Illinois State Capitol in Springfield on Dec. 6, 2022.

The governor’s salary, which Pritzker, a billionaire entrepreneur and Hyatt Hotels heir does not collect, would be raised to $205,700 from $190,700, an 8% increase. The lieutenant governor, attorney general, comptroller, treasurer and secretary of state — offices that all will remain filled by Democrats after Monday’s inauguration — also would get pay increases.

Secretary of State-elect Alexi Giannoulias, the lone newly elected official in that group, would be paid $183,300 — a 9% increase from the $168,300 salary paid to outgoing Secretary of State Jesse White, who’s held the office since 1999.

The proposal — part of a large budget bill that includes additional funding for a variety of state programs and puts an $850 million deposit into the state’s rainy-day fund — also would boost pay for agency heads appointed by the governor, something the Pritzker administration sought.

The head of the beleaguered Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, for example, would see a nearly 8% raise to an annual salary of $200,000.

The measure also would create two new paid leadership positions, which come with additional stipends on top of the base salary, for legislative caucuses that have supermajorities, which Democrats currently hold in the House and Senate.

Republican state Rep. Mark Batinick of Plainfield, who did not run for reelection for the new term, decried the raises as “Christmas in January for legislators.”

Houses Majority leader Greg Harris, a Chicago Democrat who also is retiring at the end of the current term, defended the broader bill as part of the Democrats’ ongoing efforts to stabilize the state’s finances.

Harris said the measure is part of a “fiscally responsible budget … that we hope will help every citizen of the state of Illinois.”

The plan includes another Pritzker request: $400 million for a “large business attraction fund,” which the administration has said would be used to “provide the state the flexibility to tailor development packages to each unique situation.”

A spokesman for Senate President Don Harmon of Oak Park said Democrats in the chamber “will have to review the legislation.”

The Pritzker administration said in November that it expects the state to bring in an additional $3.7 billion in revenue above what was initially projected for the budget year ending June 30.

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