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State lawmakers vote to forego pay raise

State lawmakers vote to forego pay raise

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SPRINGFIELD - Facing the state's financial crisis, lawmakers voted Wednesday to forego a pay raise in their next budget year and take four unpaid days off.

The move comes as state officials mull increasing income taxes and other fees in order to solve the state's massive budget deficit.

Lawmakers suspending their pay increases for a year won't make a significant dent in that deficit, but many agreed it was the right move anyway.

The legislation, sponsored by House Speaker Michael Madigan, was approved by a 116-0 vote. It also suspends a cost-of-living increase for statewide executives including Gov. Pat Quinn and his cabinet-level staff.

Pay raises for state lawmakers have always been especially controversial recently as the state has suffered a financial crisis and lawmakers have been hung up by high profile fighting and gridlock.

The suspended increase for the next fiscal year would be worth 2.7 percent. Four furlough days would apply to lawmakers, but not executives.

State Rep. Roger Eddy, R-Hutsonville, said many lawmakers will likely take calls on those days anyway, as they already sometimes work though holidays and weekends anyway.

"We already do," he said.

The legislation is House Bill 4445.

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