Republicans Want State Worker Wages Paid With Extra State Cash

May 7, 2014

A report says Illinois officials can look forward to more than a billion dollars in tax collections they hadn't been expecting this year. A group of lawmakers already has a plan for the money.

Sen. Sam McCann addresses reporters about SB 3657, a bill that would allow the comptroller to use extra state dollars to pay employee back wages and old bills.
Credit WUIS/Lee Strubinger

Thousands of state workers are owed an estimated 112 million dollars in back wages. Governor Pat Quinn negotiated raises with members of AFSCME back before the 2010 elections, but lawmakers never came through with the money to pay them.

Now some Republicans say this year's unexpected tax windfall ought to be used to finally make good on the contract.

State Senator Sam McCann is a Republican from Carlinville.

“We're not calling for any new spending, any new spending proposals here.  We're just asking for commitments to be honored.  Bottom line,” McCann said.

Under McCann's proposal, the rest of the extra revenue would be used to pay down the state's backlog of bills. Illinois owes schools, hospitals, and many other service providers nearly five billion dollars.