This week the Illinois Senate joined their House counterparts in overwhelmingly rejecting a two percent cost of living (COLA) increase for state lawmakers during the current fiscal year.
Due to the way state law is written, the General Assembly receives an automatic cost of living adjustment each year, unless they vote to deny it. While these automatic pay bumps had been rejected over the last six years, this year the Democrat-controlled legislature allowed the automatic pay increase to take effect.
House Bill 576 eliminates all FY16 pay raises for members of the General Assembly, state’s attorneys, elected constitutional officers, agency directors, and other state officials whose pay is set by the Compensation Review Board. The measure also freezes per diem and mileage reimbursements rates for lawmakers at their current level.
Legislative Republicans and the Governor had repeatedly called for the COLAs to be removed, citing the state’s serious fiscal woes—a problem exacerbated by the lack of a Fiscal Year 2016 budget plan.