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IL House Passes 16% Pay Raise, GOP Lawmakers Should Donate Their Pay Raises to Support Local Charities

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By Illinois Review

Late Friday night, the Illinois House of Representatives passed a budget bill that included a 16 percent pay raise for lawmakers. The salary increase raises their base pay to $85,000 annually, an $11,655 increase.

But that’s not all.

If you are in a majority or minority leadership position, you’ll receive an additional pay increase on top of the 16 percent. Committee chairmen earn an additional $12,000; and the House Speaker, Senate President and minority leaders in both chambers will receive up to an additional $16,000 raise.

The late night vote passed 63-35 without a single Republican vote, proving how irrelevant Republicans have become in the Democratic-controlled legislature.

Illinois lawmakers remain some of the highest paid in the country.

And while lawmakers may spend more than 80 percent of their time doing legislative work, the position is considered quasi full-time, meaning many lawmakers have other jobs when they are not in session.

For example, outgoing House Republican Minority Leader Jim Durkin – in addition to his duties and responsibilities as leader of the House Republican Caucus, Durkin also serves as counsel to the law firm Saul Ewing as a commercial litigator.

House Republican Floor Leader State Rep. Mark Batinick is a commercial real estate agent with Re/Max.

House Deputy Republican Leader State Rep. Tom Demmer served as Director of Innovation and Strategy at KSB Hospital in Dixon from 2003-2022. Demmer was elected state representative in 2013.

House Assistant Republican Leader State Rep. Keith Wheeler is owner of Responsive Network Services, helping small businesses implement cybersecurity tools to strengthen their internal IT networks.

House Republican Conference Chair State Rep. David Welter is Human Resources Manager at Illinois Truck & Equipment.

On the Senate side, Republican Minority Leader Dan McConchie, in addition to his duties as leader of the Senate Republican Caucus, McConchie also serves as an energy consultant for Verde Solutions, LLC, a renewable energy semiconductor manufacturing company.

Incoming Republican Senate Minority Leader John Curran is also an attorney at Power & Cronin, LTD, specializing in labor and employment law, worker’s compensation defense and civil litigation.

In the US House and Senate, members’ salaries are capped at $174,000. And in the US House of Representatives for example, members are held to annual income limits. Additionally,

“Under the Ethics Reform Act, Members and senior staff are prohibited from engaging in professions that provide services involving a fiduciary relationship, including the practice of law and the sale of insurance or real estate.”

So why are these rules put in place? To prevent potential conflicts of interest.

And while Illinois residents and small business owners are still struggling to recover financially from the pandemic, their legislators are voting for pay raises. And although House Republicans voted against the measure, they should think about donating the money earned from the salary increases to local charities in their district.

Republicans can oppose salary increases in media interviews, but will they give the money back when no one is looking? Only time will tell.

The legislation is now headed to the Democrat-controlled Senate where it is expected to easily pass before Gov. Pritzker signs it.

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