Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is defending paying his staff members significantly more than his predecessor, saying he'll pay what he has to for top talent.
The Republican told reporters Friday that some of his administration hires from the private sector were taking pay cuts to work in state government.
The Associated Press found annual salaries of ten top staffers in Rauner's administration outpace those of comparable aides to former Gov. Pat Quinn by roughly $380,000 — or 36 percent.
Rauner's comments come as he has criticized spending and worker salaries while the state is in billions of dollars of debt.
Rauner says spending inside the governor's office overall will be less than under Quinn.
Rauner's office hasn't provided specific details on spending.