Taxpayers, Lawmakers React To Quinn's Salary Suspension - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Taxpayers, Lawmakers React To Quinn's Salary Suspension


Governor Pat Quinn set a deadline of Tuesday for lawmakers to put together a comprehensive pension reform bill, but they didn't come up with one.

So, the Illinois Governor announced Wednesday consequences for missing that deadline and it hits lawmakers in their pocketbooks.

"They must have that alarm bell ringing in their ears. The best way to do that is to hit them in the wallet," Quinn said. "You don't get your wages when the job is not finished. The pension reform job in Illinois is not finished."

Quinn says he's suspending all salaries and stipends until a pension reform bill is on his desk. But Illinois State Rep. Mike Smiddy (D-Hillsdale) says most lawmakers aren't surprised by Quinn's action.

"We kind of figured that this is what it was going to be from being in Springfield yesterday," Smiddy said. " Quinn had been saying the last few weeks that there's going to be consequences if we did not get something done on pension reform."

Still, Smiddy doesn't agree that this is the right course of action. He also thinks it may be illegal --

"He can't do that. At some point they'll look at the legalities of it and see what he can and cannot do as far as salaries go."

Illinois Comptroller, Judy Baar Topinka, says she's already looking into whether Quinn can legally cut lawmakers' pay.

Unlike State Rep. Smiddy, taxpayers overwhelmingly support Quinn's decision --

"I don't get paid unless I do my job," said Sean Conners, who works in both Illinois and Iowa. "So, what's right for us as citizens should be right for them, too. They might be mad about it but, oh well, do your job and you'll get paid."

The annual base salary for an Illinois lawmaker is a little more than $67,000. Stipends, which Quinn also cut, range from $10,000 to $27,000 dollars.

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