Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon says she agrees that Gov. Pat Quinn has the power to withhold legislators’ salaries.
Simon on Wednesday began announcing her candidacy for comptroller -- the office that distributes the state’s paychecks -- with a three-city driving tour of Chicago, Springfield and Carbondale.
On July 10, Quinn announced he was vetoing the appropriation for legislators’ salaries until they pass “comprehensive pension reform.” House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton filed a lawsuit against the move, “to protect the independence of the legislature and preserve the separation of powers. It is our hope that the court will remedy this constitutional violation and that future governors will not feel empowered to use such coercive tactics.”
Simon told the Associated Press that she agrees with Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka that the office can’t issue paychecks unless the General Assembly overrides Quinn’s veto. But as Eric Zorn pointed out in the Tribune, a veto override “would legitimize the salary squeeze as a parliamentary trick, putting the power of precedent behind governors of the future who want to shake down the General Assembly on matters of less importance than pension reform, and to legislators who want to try to use the budget process to starve the governor financially into submission.”
Simon has been accused of being a disloyal lieutenant governor, because she announced in February she would not run with Quinn again. But she’s behind her boss on this issue.