WBEZ | paychecks http://www.wbez.org/tags/paychecks Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Case over lawmaker pay could be 'landmark' http://www.wbez.org/news/case-over-lawmaker-pay-could-be-landmark-108299 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP917659587334.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>CHICAGO &mdash; Gov. Pat Quinn says a lawsuit over his decision to suspend lawmaker pay for failing to act on the state pension crisis will be a &quot;landmark&quot; case.</p><p>Quinn attended a court hearing Tuesday involving a lawsuit filed by Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan and Senate President John Cullerton to force Quinn and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to issue paychecks.</p><p>A Cook County Circuit Court judge set oral arguments for Sept. 18.</p><p>Last month, Quinn cut $13.8 million for legislators&#39; pay from the state budget after threatening consequences if they didn&#39;t act on pensions.</p><p>The lawsuit asks the court to decide if Quinn&#39;s line-item veto fully eliminated lawmakers&#39; salaries. If the court upholds Quinn&#39;s amendatory veto, plaintiffs want the court to declare Quinn&#39;s action unconstitutional.</p><p>Quinn says his move is constitutional.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 06 Aug 2013 11:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/case-over-lawmaker-pay-could-be-landmark-108299 Top Illinois lawmakers sue governor over pay veto http://www.wbez.org/news/top-illinois-lawmakers-sue-governor-over-pay-veto-108235 <p><p>The two top lawmakers in Illinois are suing Gov. Pat Quinn for suspending the pay of Springfield legislators.</p><p>Earlier this month, Quinn said lawmakers wouldn&rsquo;t get paid until they passed pension reform. In retaliation, the Speaker of the House Michael Madigan and the Senate President John Cullerton released a lawsuit in Cook County Court Tuesday.</p><p>The lawsuit begins with the phrase, &ldquo;Not since Governor Blagojevich,&rdquo; right off the bat, comparing Quinn to his now-imprisoned predecessor.</p><p>In the filing, Cullerton and Madigan say Rod Blagojevich had tried to reduce the salaries of judges, something that was later found to be unconstitutional. They say Quinn&rsquo;s move is similar and compromises the separation of powers between branches of government.</p><p>&ldquo;Every day that passes, with the salaries of...members of the General Assembly remaining unpaid and eliminated, is a threat to the independence of a co-equal branch of state government,&rdquo; the lawsuit states.</p><p>The point being; if Quinn can suspend lawmakers&rsquo; pay for pension reform this time, what&rsquo;s to say the next time around, it won&rsquo;t be gun control or abortion rights or tax policy.</p><p>Quinn is standing his ground, though.</p><p>In a statement, he said the lawsuit is, &ldquo;just plain wrong&rdquo; and if the same effort had been put into pension reform as the lawsuit, pensions would&rsquo;ve been fixed by now.</p><p><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him<a href="http://www.twitter.com/tonyjarnold"> @tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 16:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/top-illinois-lawmakers-sue-governor-over-pay-veto-108235 Topinka says she must cancel lawmakers’ paychecks - for now http://www.wbez.org/news/topinka-says-she-must-cancel-lawmakers%E2%80%99-paychecks-now-108197 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/topinka.JPG" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">Illinois lawmakers will not be getting their paychecks for the month of August. Illinois&rsquo; comptroller, Judy Baar Topinka, who issues checks for state employees, said Thursday she will not send them out, per Gov. Pat Quinn&rsquo;s veto earlier this month.</p><p dir="ltr">Quinn said neither he nor lawmakers should receive paychecks until the state addresses its $100 billion pension debt and agrees on a compromise to restructure state employees&rsquo; retirement benefits.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We tried to get as much legal guidance on this as possible so that we knew we would be doing the right thing and following the law exactly and not getting tripped up,&rdquo; Topinka said at a news conference Thursday.</p><p dir="ltr">Topinka said there are conflicting legal opinions between her staff, the governor&rsquo;s legal team and the Attorney General&rsquo;s office. But the consensus is that if there is no money appropriated for legislators and the governor, then she can&rsquo;t legally send out the checks. Topinka was critical of the governor&rsquo;s idea to stop the paychecks, but said the best way to resolve the matter is either court action or for the legislature to override the governor&rsquo;s veto of their pay.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;This is no way to run a government,&rdquo; Topinka said. &ldquo;Threats, blackmail and inertia may good theater, but it makes us look ridiculous and it takes away from our ability to get things done.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Lawmakers typically receive their paychecks at the beginning of each month. August&rsquo;s check is the first skipped check for lawmakers since the governor took action.</p><p dir="ltr">Meantime, after the legislature adjourned without agreeing on a pension compromise in May, a committee of five state representatives and five state senators was formed to try to find a new pension reform plan that could get the support of all parties involved.</p><p dir="ltr">They continue to meet in private, but they have not issued a timeframe for when a proposal may be released. Some members of the committee have criticized Quinn for trying to rush the process while they were waiting to find out how different plans and how much money each could save the state.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Tony Arnold covers Illinois politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/tonyjarnold">@tonyjarnold</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 26 Jul 2013 08:12:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/topinka-says-she-must-cancel-lawmakers%E2%80%99-paychecks-now-108197