Wednesday, July 10, 2013

EXTRA: Pat Quinn to Illinois General Assembly – “No pay for you!”

Gov. Pat Quinn kept at least one promise – he’s going to refuse to let legislators get paid for what he considers their non-work.

Speculation about such an act popped up right after the General Assembly voted this week to override his changes to the state’s new “concealed carry” law, while refusing to do anything with regards to the way the state funds its pension programs.

THE LATTER, AFTER all, was the official reason the Legislature was in special session on Tuesday. Instead, they engaged in their political putdown of the governor.

Which is what motivated the Mighty Quinn to take his action – deciding on Wednesday to use his amendatory veto powers to alter one of the bills that comprises the state’s budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Specifically, Quinn deleted the portion of state funds that covers the legislators getting paid for their work.

“Pension reform is the most critical job for all of us in public office,” Quinn said, in a prepared statement. “I cannot in good conscience approve legislation that provides paychecks to legislators who are not doing their job for the taxpayers.”

QUINN ALSO CLAIMED on Wednesday that he will not accept a salary for his work until the state Legislature approves something that he can sign into law to resolve the state’s pension problems.

Although the political skeptic in me has seen many officials make such a promise, only to learn later that they somehow conveniently “forgot” to refuse to take the paycheck.

So we’ll see if Quinn keeps true to his word on that point. But more importantly, we’ll also have to see whether the loss of income is sufficient to motivate the Legislature to act on pension funding!

Because the truth is that many of the legislators are not independently wealthy. They actually live off these salaries. I’m sure this will cause some harm to them.

ALTHOUGH I ALSO wonder if the legislative mentality is going to be more vindictive – remind Quinn that he’s nowhere near being Mighty!

Political payback? I can’t even envision yet how they’re going to come at Quinn. But I don’t doubt they will.

I’m wondering if the Legislature has the nerve to call itself into a special session so they can consider an override Quinn’s amendatory veto on the budget. Would they be willing to put themselves on the record as wanting their money – even though I suspect the gut reaction of the public would favor not paying da bums a dime until something is resolved!

It would take a special session, since the Legislature isn’t technically supposed to return to Springfield until late October, with the bulk of their business in the fall veto session to be done in November.

I DOUBT THEY want to go without pay (a base salary of $67,836, with more pay added on for senior members who hold leadership positions) throughout the summer.

But are they shameless enough to demand their pay, while continuing to claim that pension funding reform remains beyond their grasp?

It’s the Illinois General Assembly, so anything’s possible! And maybe it will take Pat Quinn adopting a Seinfeld "Soup Nazi" mentality on salary to jar something loose on this issue.


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