Illinois state Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia)
Illinois state Rep. Darren Bailey (R-Xenia) had reservations from the moment when Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced last year that he would personally double the salaries of some of his senior staffers.
“The reason the governor gave those raises is he thinks that paying bigger salaries will attract better and more capable talent,” Bailey told SE Illinois News. “My fear has always been that it sends the dangerous message that getting into politics is now all about how much money and power you can get for yourself.”
Thus Bailey is in full support of a bill filed earlier this month by state Sen. Jason Plummer (R-Edwardsville) that would prohibit state employees from receiving compensation from any private citizen. State Rep. Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) has pledged to file a House version of the measure.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker
To date, Pritzker has doled out some $3 million out of his more than $3 billion fortune to attract the team of staffers he wants, leaving a puzzled Bailey with one overriding question.
“What’s going to happen when Pritzker is no longer in office, but he’s already established this expectation from the people that fill those types of positions?” Bailey asked. “It sends the message that successful men and women who have proven themselves should only be willing to serve their government in situations like that.”
Bailey now wonders if even Pritzker may be second-guessing his move.
“It’s got to be frustrating because if you look around Illinois, many of our problems are the same as when he came into office,” Bailey said. “I’ve seen nothing more or different come from these higher-paid positions, except we may be on our way to spending and taxing ourselves into the ground even faster than we were before.”