Illinois can do it the old way and raise taxes to deliver pork projects. Or Illinois can be smart and make each tax dollar work hard to deliver projects that help residents and the economy.View Report
On his first full day in office, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he will grant costly automatic pay raises to Illinois’ state workers despite a current budget deficit of more than $1 billion.
In the final hours of the 100th General Assembly, some state lawmakers are pushing to send a bill to incoming Gov. J.B. Pritzker that would give pay raises to state department heads.
AFSCME – the largest government worker union in the state – may pull off one of the most insulting waiting games in state history. The payoff? More than $3 billion, courtesy of Illinois taxpayers.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Janus v. AFSCME means state workers previously paying “fair share” fees will no longer see any money deducted from their paychecks on behalf of a union.
Senate Democrats killed a chance this week to rein in government spending, instead siding with government unions that prioritize their own power over the fiscal health of the state. Illinois taxpayers pay nearly $15,000 per state worker in health care costs alone under the most recent contract with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees.
Illinois’ largest government worker union is likely stalling contract negotiations in hopes of dealing with a new governor in 2019.
While the Better Government Association has claimed Illinois’ budget contains no fat to trim, a deeper analysis reveals the state has many areas of expensive inefficiency to reform in state and local government costs, the Medicaid program and K-12 education.
AFSCME obstructed progress for months on a new contract for state workers. Whether AFSCME and the state are at impasse in negotiations now sits with the Illinois courts – and the Illinois Supreme Court’s decision not to take a direct appeal of the case means taxpayers must continue to pay an additional $35 million to $40 million each month in health care costs alone.
The highest state worker salaries in the nation, overtime pay, generous state pensions, taxpayer-subsidized health care coverage and free retiree health insurance for career workers combine to give the average Illinois AFSCME worker six-figure annual compensation.
Lisa Madigan lost the first round in her quest to stop state worker pay during Illinois’ budget impasse. But that doesn’t mean the matter is settled. The attorney general could take this issue all the way to the Illinois Supreme Court.