Comptroller: No August paychecks for Illinois lawmakers

July 25, 2013 at 3:10 PM
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill., July 25 (UPI) -- Gov. Pat Quinn's veto of money for Illinois lawmakers' salaries means no paychecks for the Legislature on Aug. 1, the state comptroller said Thursday.

The Democratic governor vetoed $13.8 million for the salaries of the Legislature this month after members failed to deal with the thorny issue of reforming the state's public employee pension system, which is nearly $100 billion in debt. Both the Illinois House and Senate are controlled by Democrats.

Republican state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said she can't issue paychecks to lawmakers Aug. 1 unless a court orders her to -- or unless the lawmakers vote to overturn the governor's veto -- and the only way for that to happen is for the Legislature to reconvene in Springfield for a special session, the Chicago Tribune said.

Topinka arrived at her decision after her office and the office of Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, whose father is House speaker, reviewed Quinn's move suspending the pay of lawmakers until they send him pension reform legislation. Quinn is voluntarily not accepting his salary until the pension crisis is resolved.

"This is no way to run a government," Topinka told the Tribune. "Threats, blackmail and inertia may be good theater, but it takes away from our ability to get things done."

The pension debt problem has led credit agencies to downgrade Illinois' credit rating multiple times making it more expensive for the state to borrow.

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