CHICAGO (CBS) — In a new twist to the state’s ongoing budget battle, Gov. Bruce Rauner has vetoed salary increases for Illinois lawmakers, and other highly paid state employees.
Rauner has already signaled he won’t go along with a one-month budget Democratic lawmakers were expected to push through the Illinois General Assembly on Wednesday in an effort to avoid a temporary government shutdown.
Rauner’s budget director, Tim Nuding, said that measure would be unconstitutional. He said, if the $2.3 billion temporary budget plan were applied to a full year, it would be nearly $4 billion short of revenue.
Now, Rauner has used his amendatory veto power to rewrite legislation that would have granted cost-of-living salary increases for state lawmakers, elected constitutional officiers, agency directors, and “other highly compensated state officials,” according to the governor’s veto message.
“A balanced budget requires shared sacrifice,” the governor said. “Under these circumstances, the State cannot afford to give legislators a raise. Illinois legislators are already among the highest paid in the United States, earning $68,000 to $95,000 per year for part-time service, plus per diem payments and mileage reimbursement.”
The governor said the legislation would have granted lawmakers pay raises of $1,356 to $1,905 each.
The rewritten legislation also freezes lawmakers’ the daily stipends lawmakers receive for travel and daily expenses while in session.
“Budget implementation bills must give us the tools to implement a balanced and realistic budget, and this change is an important step in closing our budget deficit,” the governor said.
It would take a three-fifths majority vote in the House and Senate to override Rauner’s veto.