A newly sworn-in state representative from southern Illinois is beginning his legislative career with what one lobbyist calls a “stunt”: He’s suggesting that neither he, nor any of his colleagues, get paid until the state’s vendors get paid.
New State Rep.: Let's Work For Free Until Bills Are Paid
Last Friday, Rep. Charlie Meier, R-Okawville, filed a bill to amend the Salaries Act, so that constitutional officers and legislators "shall not be entitled to receive any salary or financial remuneration from the State, including any reimbursement for travel expenses or per diem, until the State has paid in full all vendor accounts that are past due under the State Prompt Payment Act as of the effective date of the amendatory Act."
Meier, whose campaign website features a photo of him holding a shotgun, is obviously trying to make a name for himself among Illinois Tea Partiers. On his website, he writes:
Charlie believes in FISCAL RESPONIBILITY [sic]. When you have a bad year on the farm or in your business, you don't go out and spend more money. You figure out what you need to cut, where you can improve your income and how you are going to balance your budget to make your payments for the next year. This is what we need in Springfield, someone who knows how to balance the checking account, to make the tough decisions on where we need to cut back and to focus on stopping corruption and waste in Illinois.
However, the Illinois Observer quoted a “long-time lobbyist” as saying Meier’s bill is “a stunt. Charlie Meier starts his legislative career with a stunt, and it’s not a good idea, because he looks foolish and not serious as a lawmaker.”
Also, Meier looks as though he can afford to work for nothing. He inherited a family farm, has no family to support, and enjoys a second income as a housing developer.