Bailey fears state government won't rein in spending
Newly elected state Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) fears what he suspected would happen in Springfield is already starting to.
“This seems to send an early example of how Gov. Pritzker plans to spend us into oblivion,” Bailey told the SE Illinois News of the lame duck session passage of Senate Bill 3531, which gives a 15 percent pay increase to state department directors, assistant directors and secretaries.
“Then for this to be happening at a time when so many new lawmakers are foregoing pensions and other types of benefits in an effort to give something back to the state really sends the wrong message,” he added.
Democrats held onto the bill until after Pritzker formally assumed power, thereby greatly enhancing the chances that it would pass with minimal resistance. Besides the pay increases, the measure also assures that as of July 1, top state employees are entitled to annual cost-of-living increases.
“We’re talking about pay increases that are much greater than what the top tier of employees anywhere across the state receive,” added Bailey, who won election in the 109th District in November with more than 75 percent of the vote. “More than that, if everyone in government is beholden to Pritzker because of moves like this, how can we expect that they will be willing to have a direct and honest exchange of ideas with him about what this state really needs?”
Bailey said he was particularly bothered that a few Republicans joined forces with Democrats to pass the bill.
“The way this bill was moved along showed a complete lack of integrity,” he said. “But you can’t really be surprised. That’s the game (House Speaker) Mike Madigan and his side always play. The only surprising thing was the number of Republicans who joined in with them.”
The 109th House District includes all or part of Clay, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White counties.