CHICAGO — Illinois lawmakers will take a pay cut starting next month under a new law signed Saturday by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The legislation, introduced by state Rep. Michelle Mussman of Schaumburg and approved by both houses with broad bipartisan support, requires members of the General Assembly to take one unpaid furlough day per month in fiscal year 2014, which starts July 1. It also prohibits cost of living increases for state officials and freezes lodging, meal and mileage reimbursement rates.

The new law will not affect pension calculations.

Mussman, a Democrat re-elected to her second term in November, has said the move will show constituents that elected officials are sharing in the burden of the state’s financial woes.

Illinois has the worst credit rating of any state because of ballooning pension costs. Its pension liability is also the nation’s worst — about $97 billion.

The state’s lawmakers are among the highest paid in the country, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The base salary is $67,836, with leadership posts and committee roles providing additional boosts. Many also earn full-time salaries in outside positions.

Mussman last year also introduced legislation to permanently cut lawmakers’ pay by 10 percent. The bill passed the House, but failed to move in the Senate.

Quinn issued a statement commending lawmakers for voting for the furlough bill, and encouraged them to “work just as hard to get the job done on public pension reform, the most important fiscal challenge of our time.’’

The governor has called lawmakers back to Springfield for another special session July 9 to deal with pensions. The General Assembly adjourned a special session on Wednesday after voting to form a 10-member committee to deal specifically with the pension problem.

More from

(10) comments


Since they can't seem to get the job done maybe they should forgo their normal wages all together. What a sorry group of non achievers.


You are dead right about that, but I have a better idea. Instead of having 12 unpaid days off which they can always use personal. vacation, sick time, or some other form of Y time to make those days paid anyway, lets see a real savings. I say cut the expense accounts of every Illinois lawmaker by 20%. Let these individuals experience first hand what it is like to have to actually make personal sacrafices to balance a budget like the average citizens do today. The overall savings to taxpayers would be tremendous and it would actually put lawmakers in the position they have put their constituents in. Welcome to our world you out of touch elitists.

Chadwick Snow

They should take 12 furloughed months.


Finally something we can all agree on. But I don't think it goes quite far enough. I say we make all law makers work full time, 40 hours a week, 49 weeks a year and actually make them accomplish something and then take 6 months of the pay they are due and give it to someone who didn't work for it.


This is lip service. How about capping the pension amount that a state employee can receive on a yearly basis. There is a maximum for collecting social security and there should be a max for pensions too from state governments. If the public knew how many pension were over $100,000 per year from state retired pensions maybe it would get more attention and action. The state will end up declaring bankruptcy within 5 years if things don't drastically change with cuts in pensions which is the highest liability cost year after year. Property taxes are already very high in the state, there is a 5% state income tax, and taxes on purchases are pushing upwards of 10% when dining out. The citizens of the state are being taxed to death, and the only way to bring down the deficit is cut where the biggest expenses are at. That means cutting pensions and benefits. The legislators need to do what they were elected and collecting a paycheck to do. It means making the votes that do what is right for the entire state, and not just in getting re-elected. Elected officials need to have a heart of a stone and get the job done without caring who they make mad or upset. Having 12 unpaid days means nothing in the big picture of getting the real job done and they are continuously passing the buck hoping the public doesn't realize what they are doing, which is absolutely nothing on pensions but circling the wagons.


I will agree to capping pensions to the base 40hr work week when they stop taking employee contributions on overtime worked.


are they paid hourly or are they salary? If they're salary, isn't this basically doing nothing but giving them an extra day off per month to celebrate being the highest paid lawmakers in the nation?


They earn a salary most working people can only wish for. While earning that salary they also work full time at another job. Once they leave office the receive a pension and medical on the taxpayers dime, every one of the who ever served receive it as long as they are breathing. The pension reform is only for the public workers it does not include the elected. How much does that system cost the state, we only are quoted their salary. With a salary of that size their travel, living expenses and meals should come from their pay. Let them check into a bargain rate motel and eat at Mickey D's. When they retire let them retire on what they earned in their private sector jobs and collect Medicare. Being a career politician might not looks so enticing if they had to provide for their own retirement elsewhere.

Oh My

They shouldn't get paid at all. So far what have they done for the state??? They taken the teachers pension away and given themselves a raise. What kind of trash have we elected to lead us?? These liars, cheats and completely worthless so-called people should have to work for a living and SHOULD NOT get a pension or a pay check from the state. It would be terrible to see the Brady's and the rest of the leeches WORK for a living digging ditches, building homes, REAL MANUAL LABOR. Not just telling everybody that they have a plan to make this all go away. GET RID OF ALL OF THEM.

Al Moncrief
Al Moncrief


The Solution for Illinois' Self-inflicted Pension Problem: Lower the rate of FUTURE accrual of pension benefits by reducing the public pension "multiplier" on a PROSPECTIVE basis (for pension benefits not yet accrued.) See Professor Amy Monahan's paper: "Public Pension Reform: the Legal Landscape." (She is at the University of Minnesota School of Law.) Then, reform the state tax system, close corporate tax loopholes, and re-amortize the pension debt over its life 50-70 years. (See Ralph Martire refinancing plan.)


Cullerton's legal aid Eric Madiar believes that Colorado's theft of fully-vested, accrued public pension COLA benefits is likely unconstitutional. So, why is Cullerton going down this path in Illinois?

From “Public Pension Benefits Under Siege”:

“The adoption of the contractual approach by Colorado . . . however, make(s) it more likely that pension reform efforts (the COLA provisions of SB 10-001) will be found unconstitutional.”

A PDF of the Madiar paper is available on the website of the National Conference of State Legislatures at the following link:

Defend contractual public pension rights in the U.S. Contribute at, "Friend" Save Pera Cola on Facebook!

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.