Playing Hardball
6:47 am
Wed July 10, 2013

Governor Halts Lawmakers' Pay

Gov. Pat Quinn
Gov. Pat Quinn speaks to reporters after his concealed carry veto was overridden by the legislature.
Credit Brian Mackey/WUIS

Gov. Pat Quinn used his veto power Wednesday to eliminate salaries for Illinois legislators. Quinn says until lawmakers fix the state's pension problem, they shouldn't get paid.

On Illinois' $100-billion unfunded pension liability, Quinn has been setting deadlines for more than a year. Until now, there haven't been any direct consequences for lawmakers when they've blown each of those deadlines.

Quinn changed that in a big way.

"The legislators should not get paid until they enact comprehensive public pension reform," Quinn said.

Many legislators have made pensions a priority, but they're divided over just how to solve the problem. A small group of key senators and representatives have been negotiating a compromise this summer. They say it takes time to get their ideas analyzed to figure out just how much money could be saved — and that it would be irresponsible to vote on a fix without first doing the math.

Quinn, however, says that's just an "excuse."

"They must have that alarm bell ringing in their ears. And the best way to do that is to hit them in the wallet."

Lawmakers aren't scheduled to get paychecks until later this month. They could reconvene in Springfield at any time and vote to restore their pay.