Illinois House adjourns for month-long spring break

Illinois House adjourns for month-long spring break

House members won't return to the Statehouse until the second week of April.

The Illinois House adjourned for spring break after legislative session ended March 8. House members won’t return to Springfield for over a month, with the next regular session scheduled for April 9.

State representatives spent their final day of legislative session in March approving seven resolutions and two bills. Lawmakers also passed 14 bills out of committee.

The lengthy break gives many members time off to campaign during primary season, with voters heading to ballot boxes March 20.

Though their work is technically part-time, Illinois’ state lawmakers are among the highest paid in the nation. Illinois state lawmakers, taking home a base salary of nearly $68,000 a year, are paid far more than lawmakers in neighboring states. The average lawmaker salary including bonuses is $82,000.

When adding the cost of health insurance, dental insurance, mileage reimbursements, per diem payments and normal pension costs, taxpayers are on the hook for more than $100,000 per lawmaker in total annual operating costs.

And that’s not all.

Taxpayers pay once for politicians’ salaries and another 1.5 times for their bankrupt pension system. Taxpayers contributed the equivalent of nearly $123,000 for each lawmaker in 2017 just to keep the General Assembly Retirement System, or GARS, afloat.

House Bill 3707 would eliminate GARS in favor of 401(k)-style retirement plans for state lawmakers. But the bill has been stuck in the notorious House Rules Committee for nearly a year.

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