Given the COVID-19 pandemic, its subsequent economic shutdown, and the need for emergency funding, a staff attorney and labor policy director for the Illinois Policy Institute said Gov. J.B. Pritzker should freeze automatic pay raises for state workers.
“Pritzker should join other Democratic governors in postponing automatic pay raises, which would free up funds for needy Illinoisans and potentially preserve state workers' jobs in the long run,” Mailee Smith said in a op-ed piece on the Illinois Policy Institute website.
Smith said almost 1.5 million residents of Illinois – representing 24% of the state’s workforce – are vulnerable to layoffs and reduced hours because of the pandemic. Over 1.09 million filed unemployment claims in the past eight weeks.
Smith said government employees are set to receive at least two raises. On July 1, a general increase in pay of 2.1%, which will cost the state $47 million, will take effect. Additional "step" increases for an additional year of service also will cost the state at least $214 million.
Include all members of the Illinois legislature in that, as well.