Ill. lawmakers take pay cut to keep road, bridge projects moving

General Assembly passes 2011 portion of $31 billion spending program

News Illinois Statehouse News June 23, 2011
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To save jobs Illinois lawmakers were willing to lower the incentive of their own on June 23.

It took just three hours for the state Senate to reauthorize the 2011 chunk of a $31 billion construction bill—and in order for the funding to clear the politicians agreed to take a cut in pay. The approval—a 48-4 margin—will take $3,000 out of their pockets. It was the third consecutive year a pay cut was passed.

“All these [construction] jobs could have gone by the wayside,” state Sen. Mike Jacobs (D-East Moline) told the Illinois Statehouse News. “And I’m pleased that my Republican friends didn’t just vote no, but voted yes.”

“That is a jobs bill,” added Sen. Pam Althoff (R-Crystal Lake). “We are going to keep people on the job. We are going to see our construction projects and our capital projects move forward.”

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn said earlier in the week that work on roads, bridges, schools and university buildings would cease if the measure was not reauthorized, and applauded the move on June 23.

However, not all of the lawmakers were pleased at the outcome.

“I could do this for free if I was rich, but I’m not,” Sen. Anazette Collins (D-Chicago) told the Statehouse News. “And I have mouths to feed. I have myself to take care of, and I’m not going to pretend that I am rich and that I can do it for free.”

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