No Pay Checks for Illinois Lawmakers

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Illinois State Comptroller, Judy Baar Topinka says she's not signing any lawmaker's paychecks anytime soon.  After legal review, the attorney general has advised Topinka that the payments cannot be made without an appropriation or a court order.

It's been two weeks since Illinois Governor Quinn cut off the general assembly's pay, along with his own, until pension reform is passed.

“This is no way to run a government,” Topinka says.  “Threats, blackmail and inertia may be good theater, but it makes us look ridiculous but it takes away from our ability to get things done.”

Local State Representative Mike Smiddy says he doesn’t necessarily agree but says this puts the focus in the wrong place.

Smiddy says the focus needs to be on the leadership, the lawmakers capable of bringing potential solutions to the table not the vast majority of legislators.

“The normal legislator, we can’t call bills.  It comes up to the leadership in the house and the senate and ultimately the governor,” Smiddy says.  “That’s where I think we need to focus on and kind of get them in gear a little bit so we can get a bill we can vote on.”

Lawmakers could override Governor Quinn's veto of their salaries or a judge could step in but either way, Smiddy says he hopes something is done before a trend is set.
“It would set a dangerous precedent if this were to hold up in court,” says Smiddy.

The first check lawmakers will miss will be August 1st.