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The PJ Tatler

by
Matt Vespa

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July 26, 2013 - 1:28 pm

Unless Illinois legislators address the $97 billion dollar pension shortfall, they won’t be getting paid.  This initiative was set in motion by the state’s Democratic governor, Pat Quinn, to spur action on addressing the nation’s worst unfunded pension liability.  Yet, not all are happy with this decision.  Some in the Illinois legislature have called Quinn’s actions constitutionally questionable, but acknowledged that the ordinary residents of Illinois see  it as a way to get something done.  As a result of the governor’s actions, Illinois’ Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says lawmakers’ paychecks have been halted.

Tammy Webber of the Associated Press wrote on July 24 that:

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Thursday that she has no choice but to withhold lawmakers’ paychecks, citing a precedent-setting court case that bars her from paying state employees without a budget appropriation or court order.

Gov. Pat Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators’ paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month, saying it wouldn’t be restored until lawmakers addressed the state’s $97 billion pension shortfall. He also suspended his own pay.

“It is my deep hope that this matter is resolved expeditiously,” either by a court or by lawmakers agreeing on a solution to the pension crisis, said Topinka, who undertook a legal review to determine if Quinn’s actions were constitutional. The Riverside Republican said Thursday that Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office advised her of the case that appears to bar her from acting

She called Quinn’s actions a “serious precedent that is being created,” and said the stalemate was “no way to run government.”

[...]

Quinn’s action “sets a very poor constitutional precedent for the executive branch to try to force legislative action through a payroll decision,” said state Rep. Mike Zalewski, a Riverside Democrat who sits on a bipartisan committee looking at possible pension solutions after the House and Senate deadlocked on an approach.

But Zalewski acknowledged that the governor’s action is resonating with average citizens “who just want to see us get something done.” He said the committee is probably a few weeks away from a resolution.

If there’s no action to address budgetary perils, you don’t get paid.  That’s bold.

Matt Vespa is a conservative blogger who contributes to CNS News, RedState, Noodle Pundit, and was formerly with Hot Air's GreenRoom.

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Top Rated Comments   
Now we're talking. Adjust all Members of Congress, presidential and Cabinet-level pay to be offset by the percentage of deficit in the current budget (40% deficit spending, 40% pay cut).
The president and most members of Congress like their pay but can do without it. But the cabinet-level appointees are rarely that brand of wealthy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (3)
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Detroit, Part Deux. How do you incur a $97 billion pension shortfall? Aren't actuaries & bean counters paid to figure out how to not let that happen? Pension contributions X years of service X benefit multiplier + life expectancy = pension obligations. It's not for simpletons, but it ain't rocket science either.
52 weeks ago
52 weeks ago Link To Comment
This is a terrible idea. There's a reason the Founders wrote the sanctity of Congress' pay into the Constitution. Otherwise the only people who become legislators are those who already have the financial means to withstand pay interruptions while supporting two households, shutting out the middle class.

You could argue that the middle class is already shut out, but that's no reason to reinforce the lamentable condition.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Now we're talking. Adjust all Members of Congress, presidential and Cabinet-level pay to be offset by the percentage of deficit in the current budget (40% deficit spending, 40% pay cut).
The president and most members of Congress like their pay but can do without it. But the cabinet-level appointees are rarely that brand of wealthy.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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