At a time when Gov. Pat Quinn is speaking of the worst economic crisis since "the great recesson" NBC Chicago has learned some 235 state employees have received pay raises this year.
Earlier this summer, the Associated Press revealed 43 employees -- many of them in the governor's office -- had been awarded pay hikes, but NBC Chicago, through a Freedom of Information Request, has uncovered even more pay hikes.
Of the 235 who received a pay raise in 2010, 225 of them received more than a five percent pay hike. Those rewarded with a fatter check include a labor relations expert whose pay increase is more than $5,000, to the local tourism marketing manager who received more than a $10,000 pay hike.
"You have to pay people appropriately in order to get them and keep them," Quinn said.
His GOP opponent, State Sen. Bill Brady, said the governor is "clueless and out of touch."
"We cannot afford to raise pay for anybody when we owe $5 billion to vendors," Brady charged.
The pay raises range from $300 a year to $40,000 a year. The average raise for these non-union employees is 11 percent -- that's four times higher than private industry expectations.
Quinn's staff explains that the state employees are doing more with less -- that in fact the governor has cut nearly one thousand employees. The state of Illinois -- according to Quinn staffers -- has the lowest number of state employees per capita.
"I've cut the budget by $3 billion. That's more than any governor in state history," said Quinn.