State lawmakers should only be paid if there’s a verifiably balanced budget, according to a group of Republican lawmakers.
A group of 17 Republicans is sponsoring House Bill 4399, which would require the state auditor general to certify the budget is balanced. One of those lawmakers, Illinois state Rep. Avery Bourne, R-Litchfield, told WMAY Springfield the measure would hold lawmakers accountable to taxpayers by withholding legislator paychecks if there’s not a balanced budget.
“I’ve heard this from constituents for months,” Bourne said. “Why are legislators being paid if there’s not a budget?”
Bourne said to give the measure teeth, the bill would require the auditor general and the comptroller to verify that any budget is balanced. The measure also would require lawmakers to respond within 10 days at any time the state comptroller deems the budget to be unbalanced
Bourne said withholding legislators’ pay should push lawmakers to fulfill the balanced-budget requirement under the Illinois Constitution.
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“And certainly, I think it could serve as the motivation to get back and really work on it,” Bourne said.
The measure is in the House Rules Committee.
The state is now more than nine months into the current fiscal year without a full budget. Despite the lack of a state budget, state Senate Democrats have said 90 percent of projected annual spending is already committed due to consent decrees and court rulings.