Pols May Take a Pass on Pay Hike

Could be an Illinois first!

History tells us this is a ruse.

"An automatic 2.8 percent raise for elected state officials would be blocked this summer under a measure that advanced Wednesday in the House," the Tribune reports.

Illinois pols only pretend to block pay raises. This must be a ploy.

"The legislation, sponsored by Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) also would eliminate the pay review board that frequently recommends giving lawmakers and statewide officials even bigger paychecks," the Trib says.

Can't be. Is Michael Madigan feeling alright? 

"And the proposal would require that lawmakers take an unspecified number of unpaid days off, signaling a willingness to sacrifice as the state faces a massive budget shortfall and leaders mull a major income tax increase," the paper adds.

We must be dreaming. What's the scheme?

"The State Government Administration Committee voted 14-0 to send the bill to the full House," the Trib reports. "Though the legislation has an immediate impact on the 2.8 percent cost-of-living increase set for July 1, its broader impact would be to end the convoluted way in which lawmakers have been able to get away with even bigger pay raises over the years."

There must be a catch.

"The measure comes days after Republicans tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the raises from the governor's budget," reports Central Illinois Proud.

Okay, so that's the "scoring political points thing."

"Eliminating the raises would save the state about a million dollars," CIP says.

Yes, that figures.

And the raises may have been considered untenable in the current economic and political atmosphere when an income tax hike is also on the table, but this is Illinois.

Our pols always find a way, so don't believe it until you see it.

Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter. He's actually an optimist; just not a blind one.

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