Some State Lawmakers Argue Against Unpaid Furlough Days

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — Illinois lawmakers believe in shared sacrifice in these difficult financial times – most of them, anyway.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, a bill which awaits the action of Gov. Pat Quinn, calls for 12 unpaid furlough days for members of the state House and Senate.

The jobs are technically considered part-time, though supporters say it is important for the lawmakers to show they can take a sacrifice as well. The Senate sponsor, Sen. Dan Kotowski (D-Park Ridge), says the effect of the furlough days will be a $3,900 pay cut.

But state Sen. Annazette Collins (D-Chicago) says it makes no sense.

“I will never vote to cut my salary, because our people; our constituents don’t expect us to do that,” she said. “We do this because some of us want to run on that. But what we should be running on is that we’ve done a great job, and we work very hard for the people of the state of Illinois, and we don’t want to do it for free.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports

Collins argued $65,000 – the pay for a representative or senator who holds no leadership posts or committee chairmanships – is not much money for the job.

Lawmakers receive $111 for expenses every day they are in session, and they also receive 39 cents per mile driving to and from session.

Also objecting to the bill is state Sen. Tom Johnson (R-West Chicago).

“This is somewhat pandering to an electorate to say we are self-righteous enough to cut, when we haven’t been able to cut the overall budget,” he said.

Johnson also said continued pay cuts could make it less attractive to run for office.

But sponsor Kotowski argued the opposite.

“We’re willing to sacrifice, just the way people are at home; to have furlough days imposed upon ourselves, which reduces our salaries,” Kotowski said. “So I think it’s an important message that we send to the electorate.

The bill passed the House unanimously. Besides Johnson and Collins, the senators voting against the bill were Mattie Hunter (D-Chicago) and Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood).

SB 266 has passed both chambers and goes to the governor.


    Since they are overpaid leeches, we need to vote them out so they can go back to working at K-Mart,….nothing but a gaggle of yes people for the thug madigan mob ,or the daly goon gang….
    bet if the job was non-paying as goverment service, these clowns would still be in the welfare office or trailer park…

  • Jim

    Less attractive to run for office?!? I think that 99% of Illinoisans would kill to make $65k/yr for a PART TIME JOB!! Why don’t these clowns go to McDonald’s and make $9/hr or $10/hr for a real part time job? That is what the majority of part time jobs pay. Many Illinois politicians are so out of touch with reality Illinoisans

  • FED UP & Willing

    By the names of the ones BI tching,and were their from its just a couple more lazy askes from the hoods.

  • What!?!

    So, it’s obvious that Sen. Annazette Collins (D-Chicago) is out of touch with the reality of the situation. She thinks that they are doing a great job! Guess she hasn’t noticed the complete lack of financial responsibility in our State, that has driven us to near bankruptcy. Hey, Ms. Collins, you and your friends in government are responsible for this mess! I said it yesterday, and I’ll say it again. As far as I’m concerned, every one of them is useless. They could take off 51 weeks out of a year, and no one would miss them, and I wish that they would. The state would be in better shape without them!

  • tom Sharp

    Funny,minority legislators seem to be the only ones against this. Someone should tell them that they’ve been on PAID furlough days all year!

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