Turning The Tables: Legislator Files To Cut Quinn's Budget

Oct 23, 2013

Rep. David Harris, R-Arlington Heights, says "the chief executive has attacked the legislature, which shows how dysfunctional we are. If they haven't done their job, then they shouldn't get the full appropriation that we did, and I suggest that that appropriation be cut."
Credit ILGA.gov

  Several months after Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn vetoed legislators' salaries from the state budget -- one lawmaker wants to turn the tables on him.

Gov. Quinn says lawmakers shouldn't be paid until they overhaul the state's pensions. A judge rejected that move and the governor's appeal is still pending before the state Supreme Court, so lawmakers are getting their paychecks.

Nevertheless, legislators are still offended by Quinn's "attack," as Rep. David Harris, R - Arlington Heights, describes it.

"It's my contention he and his staff haven't done their job, because it's a cooperative venture here in the state, between the legislature and the chief executive," Harris says. "We passed 600 bills in the spring session. Six hundred bills. Because we didn't pass one single bill he claims we haven't done our job."

Harris has filed legislation to cut a million dollars from the governor's office.

In response, a spokesman for the governor sent a summary of task forces, deadlines and public pronouncements Quinn has made to help resolve the pension issue, and says the governor isn't taking a paycheck until that's done.

That isn't enough for Harris, who says Quinn has job perks most legislators do not.

"I'm not driven around by state troopers, I have to buy my gas myself, kay? I have to put food on my table and it doesn't come from the state coffers at the executive mansion. So there's a little bit of a difference here," he says.

Harris also notes that, unlike he did for legislators' pay, Quinn did not veto his own salary; he is just making a temporary choice to not take a paycheck.

Harris's legislation, House Bill 3717, was filed yesterday, the same day House Speaker Michael Madigan made public a letter about the salary veto. The letter makes clear that legislators will NOT vote to try to override it during the fall veto session. Madigan writes that the judge's ruling essential void's Quinn's action ... so there is no veto for the General Assembly to consider.