SPRINGFIELD (Heartland Newsfeed) — Newly sworn-in state Rep. Darren Bailey is fearing his suspicions about what would take place in Springfield are becoming reality.
“This seems to send an early example of how Gov. Pritzker plans to spend us into oblivion,” Bailey, the Republican newcomer from Xenia, stated in regards to the passage of Senate Bill 3531 during the lame duck legislative session, which increases the annual salaries of state departmental workers, associate directors and secretaries by 15 percent.
“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,” Bailey added.
Democratic legislators chose to hold on to the bill until Pritzker officially became governor, thereby increasing the chances of passage with minimal resistance.
In addition to the pay increases, beginning July 1, state employees will be entitled to annual cost-of-living increases, which will continue to add an unnecessary burden on the taxpayer.
“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 District 109 in the November 6 general election 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 added.
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.”
House District 109 includes all or part of Clay, Edwards, Effingham, Jasper, Lawrence, Richland, Wabash, Wayne and White counties.
Jake Leonard, a broadcast media and journalism veteran, is the editor-in-chief of Heartland Newsfeed. Leonard is also GM and program director of Heartland Newsfeed Radio Network, wrestling editor and contributing writer for Ambush Sports, a contributing writer for My Sports Vote and Midwest Sports Network, and a former contributor to Bleacher Report and Overtime Heroics. He resides at home in Nokomis, Ill. with his dog Buster.