Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Topinka Says She Can't Pay Illinois Lawmakers




    Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she has no choice but to withhold paychecks from Illinois lawmakers and Gov. Pat Quinn says she's just following the Illinois Constitution.

    Topinka spoke Thursday in Chicago after her office reviewed Quinn's decision to cut state legislator's paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month. He called it the consequence for lawmakers' failure to address the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.

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    Topinka said she talked with the Illinois attorney general's office and they advised her that comptrollers can't pay state employees without an appropriation.

    Topinka said she hopes the matter will be resolved "expeditiously" and says in her opinion government shouldn't be run through threats and blackmail.

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    Quinn said Topinka "properly recognized" his line-item veto and "followed the express provisions of the Illinois Constitution."

    "Legislators should not be paid until they enact comprehensive pension reform," Quinn said. "In addition, I've also asked the comptroller to withhold my own paycheck until this important reform is achieved."

    Lawmakers are scheduled to receive their next paychecks on Aug. 1.