State Rep. Dwight Kay (R-Glen Carbon) has filed legislation in response to efforts by House Democrats to sneak through what amounts to a legislative pay raise among the dozens of state budget bills being hurried through committee this week. The legislation, HB 6235, sponsored by Kay and other Republican representatives specifically calls for a continuation of furlough days and rejection of the automatic cost of living adjustment (COLA) to legislative salaries.
“First, Democrats broke their promise by going back on their pledge to let the income tax hike expire,” Rep. Kay said. “As if that wasn’t enough, they’re rushing through budget bills to spend more than the bipartisan revenue number we agreed to earlier this spring – to the tune of $2.7 Billion and climbing. Now, on top of that, they’re using an unprecedented series of politically-motivated budget maneuvers to slip in a pay raise for themselves before they go home for the summer. As usual, their priorities are in the wrong place. It’s beyond reckless and irresponsible.”
The Democrats’ budget requires zero furlough days for legislators and accepts the COLA for FY 15; amounting to a salary increase of approximately 4.6%.
In contrast, Rep. Kay’s plan would require the General Assembly to maintain 12 furlough days in FY15, at a rate of one a month. In addition, it eliminates the FY15 COLA and continues the per diem and mileage reduction that is in place for FY14.
The savings from the 12 furlough days for legislators would save the state approximately $618,000.
“It’s obscene,” Rep. Kay added of the Democrats’ pay raise ploy. “Taxpayers are being asked to pay more; and Democrats want to give themselves a raise. I am acting to give every legislator the chance to join us and stand up to say this is wrong. We should be responsibly reducing spending and prioritizing the state’s limited resources on education, public safety and vital services for our seniors, disabled and veterans; NOT raising legislators’ pay.”