Rep. Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield)
State Rep. Mark Batinick’s (R-Plainfield) opponent has been sending out campaign mailers with a message that Batinick could have dreamed up himself. In fact, he did.
The campaign ads under the heading “Mica Freeman’s Plan: No Budget, No Pay” blasts “politicians in Springfield” for not balancing budgets.
“If they don’t do their job and balance the budget, they shouldn’t get paid,” the mailer states.
Batinick, in 2015, co-sponsored legislation that would have ended the practice of uninterrupted pay for lawmakers. The practice was part of a 2014 law backed by Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan after then-Gov. Pat Quinn struck legislative salaries from a budget bill.
Madigan not only squashed Batinick’s bill but in 2016 had his top attorney sue Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger for withholding legislators’ paychecks during the two-year budget impasse. Munger used the "no budget, no pay" message as the centerpiece of her 2016 campaign against Democrat Susana Mendoza, who also used the issue in her campaign. Mendoza won.
It was also Batinick who earlier this month called for a special legislative session to send legislation that would make legislators' paychecks contingent on the passaged of a budget to Rauner's desk before the November general election.
Batinick also created a website, NoBudgetNoPayIL.com, to bring attention to the issue.
“To use ‘no budget, no pay’ as nothing more than a political tool to get elected is disgusting and dishonest. Illinois families deserve better," Batinick said in a statement. "Let’s go back to Springfield and put the votes on the board. Time to see who is willing to stand for taxpayers and who is in this for themselves — before the November election.”
Other Madigan-backed candidates have used similar mailers against their opponents.
“It’s one of the most cynical and distasteful things I’ve ever seen in politics,” Rep. Jeanne Ives (R-Wheaton) told the Will County Gazette. “They are taking the very issue he started and that Madigan killed, and using it against him.”
Ives supported the policy in 2016 and supports Batinick’s bill now, she said.
“It says that we (lawmakers) are nothing special,” she said. “We should wait in line to get our money just like everyone else if we can’t pass a balanced budget.”
In May, the General Assembly approved a budget with a $1.2 billion shortfall.
Batinick is running for re-election against Democrat Mica Freeman in the 97th House District, which includes Kendall and Will counties.