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Lincoln Daily News
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Lawmakers get paychecks first and backpay

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To the editor:

Last week Democrat lawmakers pushed a self-serving agenda and asked for their paychecks to be put ahead of schools, human services and small businesses who provide critical services to those most in need and taxpayers. Now, a judge has ruled that lawmakers get to jump the line and be paid first. They were represented in court by Speaker Madiganís lawyer who also fought against fair maps and term limits.

This is wrong. It is unfair for elected officials to be prioritized ahead of taxpayers.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza should have kept her promise to keep lawmakers pay in line by immediately asking the court for a stay of the decision during appeal, as was done by AFSCME in their contract lawsuit against taxpayers. Instead, she immediately began printing paychecks for lawmakers and statewide officials, including herself. And not just one monthís pay Ė but more than half-a-yearsí worth, costing taxpayers $8.6 million. The judge did not order her to fund backpay, she chose to do that herself. This shows her true intent: helping Speaker Madiganís Democrat lawmakers rather than taxpayers.

Comptroller Mendoza served ten years in Madiganís majority in the General Assembly. In that time, she voted for the very tax hikes, borrowing , unbalanced budgets and pension holidays that have created financial problems in Illinois today. Now, sheís not fighting to fix it. By not seeking a stay, Mendoza has allowed Madiganís lawmakers to jump ahead of all those who are in line waiting to be paid.

 

[to top of second column in this letter]

I encourage her to immediately seek independent counsel from Attorney General Madigan. This is an issue that affects every single person in this state, and itís vital that on an issue that affects all to avoid even the slightest appearance of a conflict of interest. The attorney general is not independentóher paycheck is in the same line with lawmakers. By getting outside counsel and requesting an immediate stay, she can put lawmakers back in line. Illinoisans deserve an independent voice in this matter.

It is unreasonable for Madiganís majority in state government to resist change and continue leading our state in the wrong direction. Their first duty is to pass a balanced budget, live within our means and pay for what we prioritize. Itís long past time they do it. Until then, they should wait in line like every other organization waiting to be paid. No budget. No pay.

-Deputy Governor Leslie Munger​

[Posted March 28, 2017]

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