Blumenthal cheers comptroller's proposed 'No Budget No Pay' bill
Lawmakers in Illinois were feeling the heat last week after Comptroller Leslie Munger proposed a bill that ties their salary payments to the passing of a balanced budget.
Martin Blumenthal, the Republican candidate for the District 58 State House seat, applauds her bill.
“Munger came up with this great idea not too long ago of considering legislators the same as any other person or entity that the state owes money to and says, 'You know what? You guys can’t pass a balanced budget, you’re going to have to wait in line like everyone else,’” Blumenthal told the Lake County Gazette.
Called the “No Budget No Pay’ bill, the legislation would mandate that lawmakers not get paid unless/until they work together and pass a full budget. Many in the opposition have called this an extortion maneuver by the comptroller and Gov. Bruce Rauner. Others, like Blumenthal, approve of the statement it makes.
“I think that it is a great idea," Blumenthal said. “Let them know how it feels. I’ve had clients who were waiting six or more months to get paid by the state. When the banks see that, they take away their line of credit. It’s a double whammy. So let the legislator see how it feels like to not get paid for six months.”
Blumenthal said legislators should work for free, but does not see why they should be paid while citizens are not. It shows how out of touch House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Dist. 22) and his party are with the constituents, Blumenthal said.
“I’m not saying they should not get paid at all, but let them wait like everyone else,” Blumenthal said. “Why do they have priority? To go for a year without a balanced budget is shameful. These people just don’t get it. Madigan and the Cook County machine just don’t get it. You can’t keep borrowing. We already have $8 billion in debt. Out credit rating is almost junk-bond level now. That’s not right.”
Blumenthal said that if Madigan and Democratic lawmakers were trustees of a trust, they would have been sued for breach of fiduciary duties. It is irresponsible, especially when vital social services and those that depend on those services are suffering, Blumenthal said.
“It’s very bad for the people who need help,” Blumenthal said. “I’m not talking about the people who are able-bodied and can work and just don’t want to work. There are people in the state with various disabilities who depend on these social-service agencies, which are not government agencies. They are private agencies that are paid by Illinois to administer to these people, and they’re going to be -- and have been -- suffering the most.
Blumenthal could not understand the lack of human compassion from Madigan and his party. Blumentahl knows firsthand the consequences of that lack of compassion.
“I have clients in the health care industry, and they were just not getting paid for months and months,” Madigan said. “This goes back several years. That’s when I first knew that the state was in a lot of trouble, when my own clients were in trouble. And, like I said before, the banks would rescind their lines of credit when they needed it the most.”
Another sign of problems are the unpaid bills the state has collected over the years. The bills have reached upwards of billions of dollars.
“The unpaid bills…(Comptroller) Leslie Munger just revised her numbers upward,” Blumenthal said. “The way she puts it right now is like you have $120 in your bank account and you have bills that have to be paid right now at $8,500 and another $2,200 of bills coming in the mail and then you have credit card debt of $115,000.
The state’s collection of unpaid bills is projected to hit $10 billion by the end of this year. As lawmakers argue over Munger’s “No Budget No Pay” proposal, Blumenthal can only recount the remarks made by Munger about the fiscal situation facing Illinois.
“She always says, when she is talking to people, that the question she gets the most is ‘When is the state going to run out of money?’” Blumenthal said. “She just looks at them and says ‘Aren’t you paying attention? We ARE out of money.’”