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SPRINGFIELD - The last time top state officials received pay raises was 2001, and it seems as though they may not get one this year either.

Lena Parsons, spokeswoman for the governor's Office of Management and Budget, said Gov. Rod Blagojevich is not recommending the raises for the constitutional officers, department heads and lawmakers.

A 3.2 percent increase is included in the governor's proposed budget. But Parsons said it was only because a cost-of-living adjustment must be included because of a 1990 state law.

"The governor's recommendation in his budget is to pass it without these COLAs," Parsons said. "The cost-of-living adjustments are generally taken out as part of budget negotiations."

Steve Brown, spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, said lawmakers probably won't fight for the raise. All 118 seats in the House and 39 of the 59 Senate seats are up for election this fall.

"The majority of them haven't really objected in the past," Brown said. "I think they understand that the state has a difficult financial picture and the money they get always gets a lot more attention then a lot of aspects of the state spending, so it comes with the territory."

Cindy Davidsmeyer, spokeswoman for Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, said it was too early to predict reactions from the senators. She added that Jones, D-Chicago, does not yet have an opinion on the matter.

With a 3.2 percent raise, Blagojevich's salary would go up $4,822.11, from $150,691 to $155,513. Illinois lawmakers' pay would go up $1,843, from $57,619 to $59,462. The increase also would include a 3.2 percent increase in stipends for lawmakers who hold additional titles, such as committee chair.

In 2003, Illinois judges were denied their annual raise, and they successfully sued the state for the increase, said Carol Knowles, spokeswoman for Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes.

The case was decided by the Illinois Supreme Court, who themselves were affected by the decision. Knowles said the judges argued that giving or withholding pay raises could become a way for legislators to punish or reward them for certain rulings.


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