State lawmaker incomes grow at double rate of Illinoisans’ incomes

State lawmaker incomes grow at double rate of Illinoisans’ incomes

State lawmakers have voted to increase their salaries by more than $17,000 during Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration, far outpacing growth in their constituent’s incomes.

Illinois state lawmakers, with the OK of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, have boosted their pay 25% since 2018, but their constituents have seen incomes grow far slower.

The median household’s income has grown 11%. The average worker’s salary has grown 18%

State lawmakers pushed through the latest massive pay raises during the final hours of the lame duck session of the 102nd General Assembly on Jan. 6 by approving Senate Bill 1720. The bill, which was signed into law on Jan. 9 by Pritzker, raised the annual base salary for state lawmakers to $85,000, an increase of $12,094.

They also gave themselves a raise in Pritzker’s first budget in 2019. Since Pritzker took office, state lawmakers have seen their annual base salaries increase by more than $17,000.

Their constituents? Far less.

Since 2018, the median household in Illinois has seen its income grow by only $7,175 – a rate of 11% – to $72,205. The average worker has received a salary increase of only $8,858, or 18%, far slower than the 25% increase in lawmaker salaries.

The base annual salary for state lawmakers is now $85,000, while the median household in Illinois earns $72,205, and the average private sector employee receives $58,228.

Prior to Pritzker taking office, state lawmakers had chosen to forego salary increases since 2008. The National Conference of State Legislatures 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.

Members of Illinois’ General Assembly are now the fourth-highest paid state lawmakers in the nation. They are the highest paid of those not truly considered “full time,” even when factoring in campaign activities.

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.

Giving themselves massive raises during the final hours of a lame-duck legislative session seems especially self-serving in light of the slow pace their constituents have seen incomes rise. The new, 103rd Illinois General Assembly has a chance to redeem the Statehouse by focusing on substantive relief for their constituents.

How did your lawmakers vote on their raises?

Here’s the roll call of the 63-35 Illinois House vote Jan. 6.

Here’s the roll call of the 30-21 Illinois Senate vote Jan. 8

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