Illinois lawmaker pay 4th-highest in U.S. after Pritzker OKs $12,000 raises

Illinois lawmaker pay 4th-highest in U.S. after Pritzker OKs $12,000 raises

State lawmaker pay has increased by more than $17,000 during Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration. State representatives and senators make the most for jobs considered less than full time, 4th in U.S. overall.

Illinois’ statewide elected officials received massive pay hikes to start the new year, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed off on raises for all the state’s top leaders.

Now, base salary for members of the Illinois General Assembly starts at $85,000, though many will receive even more than that after accounting for bonuses for committee responsibilities and leadership positions ranging from $12,000 to $16,000. Lawmakers also receive a per diem worth $155 per day and mileage of 58.5 cents per mile when travelling in official capacities.

Lawmakers in Illinois are now the fourth-highest paid in the nation, behind only New York, California and Pennsylvania. Among states where legislatures are considered less than “full-time,” Illinois’ lawmakers are the highest paid, according to data from the National Conference of State Legislatures.

The NCSL classifies Illinois as “full-time lite,” meaning they serve smaller districts and work shorter sessions than full-time lawmakers, but are highly paid, employ large staffs and perform legislative work for at least 80% of their jobs. Lawmakers are in session for about 70 days a year.

During Pritzker’s administration, annual base salaries for lawmakers have increased by $17,164. Prior to the Pritzker administration, members of the General Assembly – who were still among the highest paid in the nation – had not received salary increases since 2008.

Since 2020 – the farthest back comparable data is available – lawmaker pay has increased more in Illinois than every other state except New York, which raised state lawmaker pay by $32,000 – now up to $142,000 – on Jan. 7 of this year, making them the highest paid in the nation. Oklahoma’s lawmakers have received the third-largest increase in base salary since 2020, with annual base salaries increasing by $12,479, according to NCSL.

While lawmakers have secured pay raises that far outpace the near-record inflation experienced in 2022, Illinoisans’ incomes have failed to keep up. Workers are facing the second-highest unemployment rates in the nation, and the state’s tax burden continues a meteoric rise.

Rather than giving themselves massive raises like the lame ducks of the past legislative session did in their final days, the lawmakers of the 103rd General Assembly should focus on substantive relief for their constituents.

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