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Legislators, Want To Be Paid? Get In Line

Brian Mackey/WUIS

Illinois legislators should expect a delay in their paychecks.

Comptroller Leslie Munger announced Sunday that elected officials' pay will wait in line, just like other bills.

Vendors and agencies that perform work for the state are waiting months to be paid. Until now, officials' paychecks were essentially given preferential treatment.

With a handful of Constitutional officers and 177 state legislators, the paychecks collectively total $1.3 million a month, or $15.6 for the year.

"Now some may say that that's not very much compared to the state's staggering financial problems," Munger said. "But it all adds up. And that $1.3 million can mean a lot to a non-profit. It may prevent some from being laid off, or keep a critical community program going."

Munger will still process elected officials' paychecks every month, but they will no longer be paid out at regular intervals. Rather the paychecks will go out once the comptroller's office has the available cash on hand.

Even as Illinois is in its tenth month without a budget, there is a cash shortage because spending exceeds incoming revenue.

Absent a budget, state universities, community colleges and various social service organizations aren't even in the comptroller's cash queue, and have gone since July without funding.

Munger was appointed comptroller by Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner following the death of Judy Baar Topinka, who won another term as comptroller in 2014 but passed away before she was inaugurated.

A special election will be held this fall to determine who is comptroller for the next two years. Munger is to face off against Democratic nominee Susana Mendoza, Chicago's city clerk.

Amanda Vinicky moved to Chicago Tonight on WTTW-TV PBS in 2017.
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