Illinois lawmakers increase salaries to 4th highest in U.S.
Springfield lawmakers will be the fourth-highest paid legislators in the nation after giving themselves a $2,700 raise in the 2023 state budget. Lawmakers’ salaries have increased 8% since Gov. J.B. Pritzker took office.
The salary hike is in the record $46.5 billion budget signed April 19 by Gov. J.B. Pritzker. It marks the third time lawmakers have given themselves a raise and Pritzker’s approved it since he took office. In total, lawmakers’ base salaries have increased 8% under Pritzker, and they will be earning a minimum $73,345 a year when the new budget starts July 1.
The U.S. average for state lawmaker pay is $34,348 – less than half of the Illinois pay, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Many state legislatures are part-time, while the Illinois General Assembly is closer to full-time.
On top of their No. 4 in the nation salaries, Illinois lawmakers receive $151 each day the legislature is in session, along with a travel reimbursement. Lawmakers are given an additional stipend for serving in party leadership roles or leading committees, worth between $10,000 to nearly $30,000 per year.
Here’s a review of their job performance.
Not only did lawmakers vote to give themselves a raise when Pritzker became governor in 2019, but they increased their salaries twice while the Illinois government was reliant on temporary federal pandemic relief dollars to stay afloat. Despite billions in stimulus propping up the economy, politicians still managed to pass an unbalanced budget for the 21st consecutive year.
Boasting the nation’s highest state and local tax rates, second-highest property taxes, second-highest gas tax and nation-leading pension debt, Illinois saw the most residents move out of any state in 2021.
Illinois also has the worst credit rating in the nation and was the only state forced to rely on emergency borrowing from the federal reserve to keep its finances afloat during the pandemic. That is because two decades of overpromising by politicians has left Illinois with $317 billion in pension debt.
Even with billions in federal pandemic relief, Illinoisans now pay an average $680 more each year in taxes compared to before Pritzker took office.
Illinois state lawmakers during the Pritzker years gave themselves over 8% raises for jobs left undone: an inadequate effort to stop employer tax hikes for the unemployment trust fund, no movement on reforming state pensions, $2,165 in new taxes even after the temporary, election-year tax breaks are subtracted, the Midwest’s highest unemployment rate with 154,500 jobs still missing since the pandemic, and the state’s largest budget ever that is projected to become Illinois’ 21st consecutive deficit budget.
Raises typically come for a job well done. Illinois lawmakers’ job performance seems more worthy of pink slips.