Editorial: No budget, no paychecks for legislators

Staff Editorial

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On Sunday, Comptroller Leslie Munger announced that she would delay paychecks for members of Illinois’ General Assembly and Constitutional Officers until a budget is passed.

In a press release, Munger stated the facts everyone in Illinois already knows well.

The budget impasse has led to massive layoffs in many institutions, social services being dismantled and businesses in Illinois are waiting to be paid.

The state is expected to be in a $6.2 billion financial hole this year because the state has been paying bills with court orders, consent decrees and statutory authorizations.

Without some serious action, none of these problems are going to get any better.

Delaying state leaders’ paychecks is a terrific decision on Munger’s part, although it should have been done long ago, when these problems started.

The six Constitutional Officers and 177 General Assembly members in Illinois have a responsibility to their constituents.

If they are not going to do their job there is no reason for them to be paid to do nothing and ruin lives.

All of these people have a total salary of $1.3 million a month, or $15.6 million a year and have so far not earned one penny of it.

While they were being paid to fight and bicker like children, people all across Illinois suffered.

“As our cash crunch grows in the coming months, it is only appropriate that the unfair prioritization of payments to elected leaders ends. We are all in this together. We all will wait in line,” Munger said.

There was no reason for these people to be paid for not doing what they were elected to do, especially when as a direct result of this budget impasse they created, people were losing jobs they were doing well and were needed to provide for themselves and their families.

Munger said if this action helps to bring all sides together to pass a balanced budget and end this unnecessary and devastating hardship to our state that is an added benefit.

“Illinois needs a balanced budget. It is well past time that we get it done,” Munger said.

Money talks, and hopefully in this case the loss of their paychecks will encourage our state “leaders” to take the initiative to get a budget passed to end the challenges and struggles the state has had for too long.

The countless lives affected through layoffs and the lack of social services isn’t enough to get our legislators to take action, but the sudden loss of their income is.

It is scary to think self-serving people like this have been elected to high positions in state government.

The daily editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Daily Eastern News