Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger announced Sunday that amid ongoing state budget negotiations, monthly paychecks for legislators and elected officials will be delayed.
"Our social service network is being dismantled, mass layoffs are occurring and small businesses across Illinois are awaiting payments for services they've already provided," Munger said in a statement. "It is only appropriate that the unfair prioritization of payments to elected leaders ends. We are all in this together, we all will wait in line."
The state has operated without a budget since July 1, 2015. Without a budget, the state has no authority to spend money, though certain funding, including legislative pay, is considered “continuing appropriation” which is automatically funded. Court orders and consent decrees have also mandated spending at the Department of Human Services and Department of Healthcare and Family Services.
The delay on state payments is currently about two months, according to Munger, and though her office will continue to process the monthly paychecks for elected officials, they will wait in a queue with other payments and be released only when the cash is available.
Legislators make a base salary of $67,836 for the part-time position, with many earning more through leadership roles or by chairing committees. Legislators are also paid a per diem for each session day in Springfield as well as mileage reimbursement. Salaries for the state’s 177 lawmakers and six Constitutional officers total approximately $1.3 million per month.
Last month, Munger told a Senate appropriations committee that the state’s backlog of overdue bills could reach a sum of $10 billion by June.
Munger, a Republican from Lincolnshire, was appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner in December 2014 after the death of longtime Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. She faces re-election in a November special election against Democrat Susana Mendoza, the city clerk of Chicago.
"Like everything else that’s broken in Springfield, Comptroller Munger’s suggestion is 10 months late and many dollars short,” Mendoza said in a statement Sunday. “Yes, we should not pay elected officials where possible before paying more urgent bills, but when is Comptroller Munger going to stand up to Governor Rauner and demand an end to his extreme agenda and pass a budget?”