Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger proposed a “No Budget, No Pay” bill Wednesday to encourage Illinois lawmakers to pass an annual balanced budget.
Under the legislation, lawmakers would need to pass a balanced budget in order for state constitutional officers and legislators to receive their salary. The comptroller outlined her plan at the Illinois State Fair Wednesday.
“I don’t know of an employer that would pay someone that is not doing their job,” Munger said in a statement. “Why should taxpayers settle for less?"
"We tell small businesses, nonprofits, hospitals, schools and others to wait in line for months for what they’re owed by the state — it’s unconscionable that we would prioritize politician pay and move them to the front,” she added.
As a result of the state’s budget stalemate, Munger announced in April that lawmakers would have to wait in line to receive paychecks with other state vendors.
Earlier this month, Rich Carter, spokesperson for Munger’s office, told Ward Room that paychecks are cut in the order that they are received, with the exception of certain court orders for things like payroll payments to state employees.
Carter noted that paying lawmakers "depends on the amount of revenue that comes in." The state’s current bill backlog is nearly $8 billion.
Munger, who was appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner, is up for reelection in November. She will face Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza. In her release, Munger faulted Mendoza for voting in favor of tax increases, pension holidays and budget proposals from House Speaker Mike Madigan as a state representative.
"I, like many Illinois voters, have seen enough of the machine politics that have made Susana Mendoza," Munger said. "Enough is enough. When I look at her record, I can’t help but ask, what’s the deal?"
Mendoza responded Wednesday, slamming Munger for her ties to Rauner and Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“If, like Leslie Munger, I was supporting Donald Trump, taking campaign contributions from his Illinois campaign chair and referred to myself as the self-proclaimed wingman of Governor Rauner, I too would say or do anything to distract voters away from that fact,” Mendoza said in a statement. “But after throwing seniors, disabled children and every other vulnerable population under the bus in order to push Rauner’s political agenda, she won’t be able to hide from her detestable record in November.”
Mendoza’s campaign site features a petition urging Munger to disavow Trump. The comptroller hasn’t disavowed the divisive billionaire, although she skipped the Republican National Convention in Cleveland last month.
Some Democratic lawmakers have claimed Munger’s decision to delay paychecks is politically motivated.
Earlier this month, Rep. Jaime Andrade told Ward Room that he thinks the decision to delay lawmakers’ paychecks is a political move by Munger as she faces a tough reelection bid. Andrade, who has resorted to driving Uber to pay his bills as Illinois’ budget woes continue to delay paychecks, claimed the delay has had "zero effect of moving the needle" on legislative budget action in Springfield.
Additionally, Rep. Robert Martwick published a Facebook post earlier this month claiming that Munger and Rauner were engaging in "extortion and corruption" by putting Andrade "in a very difficult financial situation."