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HomeIllinois NewsLawmakers call on Comptroller to continue "No Budget No Pay" policy

Lawmakers call on Comptroller to continue “No Budget No Pay” policy




FRANKFORT – Wednesday, a group of sixteen House Republican legislators called on the new State Comptroller Susana Mendoza to maintain the "No Budget, No Pay" policy set into motion by her predecessor Leslie Munger. Munger used the comptroller bill paying priority option to withhold state lawmaker paychecks until they passed a state budget. 

Twelve State Representatives and four State Senators sent a letter to Comptroller Mendoza today urging her to defend “No Budget No Pay” in the face of a lawsuit filed by six House Democrat legislators on December 2 suing the Comptroller for delaying payment of their salaries. 

“Social service providers and many others who rely upon the state to meet its financial obligations are being adversely impacted, to put it mildly, by the General Assembly’s failure to pass a comprehensive budget,” Rep. McDermed said. “We are calling on the new Comptroller to stand with us in support of the individuals and families whose lives are being irreparably harmed due to the lack of stability in our budget.”

“We do not believe that payment of legislator salaries should be prioritized over the funding of health care and social service providers or others enduring the long delay in state payments,” Rep. Batinick added.The principle of “No Budget No Pay” should be kept in place; and the General Assembly should come together immediately to pass a responsible state budget in order to prevent further erosion of our social safety net and damage to our economy.”

The letter: 

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  1. The last time the Illinois House and Senate fulfilled their constitutional duty to pass a balanced budget was in fiscal year 2001. The Illinois Constitution requires that “Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available during that year.” In every fiscal year since 2001 the Illinois House and Senate passed appropriation bills where the expenditures exceeding funds estimated to be available. Each and every appropriation bill passed since 2001 has violated this Constitution provision. That includes the 2014 continuing appropriation bill for the salaries of the members of the General Assembly. Each of these years Illinois’ debt got bigger and bigger with insufficient revenue to pay their obligations.
    The cause of the late salary payments to the 6 Plaintiffs suing to get to the head of the line ahead of every other citizen who does business with the State of Illinois is their own individual and collective failure of the members of the General Assembly to pass appropriation bills that do not exceed expected revenue. The 6 Plaintiffs can avoid the direct consequences of their own failures to abide by the Illinois Constitution by simply passing an appropriation bill that does not exceed revenues. Plaintiffs’ failure to pass either the many balanced budget proposals locked up in Committees or to draft their own balanced budget proposals renders the plaintiffs’ hands unclean.
    All 50 states including Illinois recognize the doctrine of unclean hands as an absolute defense to a lawsuit of the type Plaintiffs have filed. The doctrine is based on an idea of basic fairness: One person should not be able to compel another person from doing a bad action if the first person is complicit in the bad action. Plaintiff’s complicity, prior unconstitutional actions, and their own unclean hands is more than enough to defeat this lawsuit. Equity requires to continue the practice of the previous Comptroller and put legislator pay equally in line for payment with the other unsecured obligations of the State. As long as those who supply goods and services to the State have to wait, the legislators should in all equity wait as well. What greater incentive can exist to compel the General Assembly to follow the Illinois Constitution’s appropriation clause than to make the members suffer the same consequences as the rest of Illinois.