Rep. Hays Supports Elimination of Pay Hikes for Legislators for FY16

Illinois continues to face an unprecedented fiscal crisis. As of late, there is no clear solution in sight, and the budget impasse continues in the General Assembly.

The state is suffering from a debt burden of over $100 billion, and despite this crisis, Speaker Madigan pushed a bill through last year to guarantee pay raises to state legislators for FY16. This pay raise not only includes a salary increase but also increases the per diem and mileage reimbursement rates given to legislators. The state cannot afford to give legislators a raise and I have repeatedly voted against automatic cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs). It is completely wrong as legislators to give ourselves a pay raise when our state’s finances are in turmoil and no budget is in place.

At the same time, we do not have the ability to refuse this pay raise. Speaker Madigan created this automatic pay increase when the aforementioned bill passed last year. House Bill 4225, filed this year by several House Republicans, seeks to rectify this problem. This bill amends the Compensation Review Act, and prohibits any financial adjustments that were previously recommended and determined for compensation. I signed onto this bill in full support. As of today, our caucus has tried three times to have House Bill 4225 released from the Rules Committee so we could vote to reject the raises. On all three occasions Speaker Madigan’s strongest allies in the House blocked our effort to bring our bill to the floor.

I believe that House Bill 4225 is a step in the right direction and will continue to push for its release from Rules and passage. I am ready to work together with my fellow legislators to create a balanced budget for our state, and help fix our finances.