McConchie rips ruling forcing legislators to be paid
State Sen. Dan. McConchie (R-Lake Zurich) last month criticized a ruling by a Cook County judge that payments for legislators cannot be delayed despite a state backlog of billions of dollars in unpaid bills.
The decision flew in the face of the “no budget, no pay” policy introduced by former state Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger and backed by current Comptroller Susana Mendoza and Gov. Bruce Rauner.
“Yesterday, there was a court decision that decided that legislator pay needed to move to the front of the line on all of our overdue bills,” McConchie said. “Right now, we have over $12 billion in unpaid bills sitting on the comptroller’s desk. We has six legislators back in December who filed suits saying that we should be paid first in advance of all the social service agencies -- those entities that are providing help for the mentally ill, health care providers and so forth -- that we actually should be paid in front of that despite the fact that we don’t have a budget, despite the fact that – again – we have all of these unpaid bills sitting on the comptroller’s desk.”
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch (D-Hillside) and several other state legislators sued the comptroller in December to get their pay. On Thursday, Judge Rodolfo Garcia ruled in their favor.
“The comptroller, in my understanding, has already begun processing checks and direct deposits and sending those out today,” McConchie said.
McConchie has already taken action to ensure that legislators don’t have priority over anyone else.
“What I did was immediately file an amendment to SB 0989,” he said. “What that does is that it provides, very explicitly, that whenever we are overdue with our bills that the comptroller is able to put legislator pay in line with everyone else.”
He explained that his amendment only changes the way legislators are paid.
“What it does is that it doesn’t change how much legislators would be paid,” McConchie said. “What it does is it says that we should be paid in line with everyone else. Because we don’t have a budget -- because we have all of these unpaid bills -- I'm saying that we should be put in line with everyone else.”
McConchie also articulated his frustration over the state’s inability to reduce spending and pass a balanced budget. His constituents have told him that they are tired of being taxed with nothing to show for it, he said.
“Right now, in the Grand Bargain, there was a suggestion of $6 billion in new taxes," he said. "In the Senate Appropriations Committee … we had the civic federation encouraging $9 billion in new taxes again with no revenue reductions whatsoever. I find it abhorrent that we can’t find anywhere to cut the size of government but we … have no problem raising taxes and telling you – those of you that are out there – we need more of your money. You need to make cuts because we can’t live within our means.”
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