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In a week filled with some memorable lines, we award state Sen. Dale Righter the quote-of-the-week award for his description of pay-raise legislation that included money for hospitals, a juvenile detention center, a couple dozen school districts and families of deceased veterans

"What you saw here was an attempt to cover up a pile of manure with some flowers," said the Republican from Mattoon. "It looks OK from a distance, but when you get close to it, it really stinks."

The House by a 62-54 vote and the Senate by a 37-21 margin approved the manure-and-flowers bill. The Senate vote followed party lines. In the House, one Republican voted in favor and three Democrats voted against it.

It's bad enough that current law lumps together pay raises over a broad range of categories. There was no need - other than political expediency - to connect money for hospitals, schools, etc., to the pay raises.

The ability of Democratic lawmakers to reach agreement on appropriating money for legislative pay raises when they haven't finished work in more important areas, such as the state budget and electric rate relief, adds insult to taxpayer injury.

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