Rep. Batinick calls out Springfield pay raises as 'an absolute joke' orchestrated by House Democrats
Republican House Floor Leader Mark Batinick (Plainfield) did not mince words in his assessment of the pay raise he and his colleagues in Springfield walked away with as part of Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s new $40 billion budget.
“I think it’s an absolute joke,” Batinick told the Will County Gazette. “How do you justify squeezing taxpayers for more money at the same time you’re rewarding yourself with more?”
Batinick is not alone in his thinking after Springfield's Democratic majority carved out a $1,600 pay hike that increases lawmakers' annual salary to nearly $70,000 for a part-time job that only requires them to be in session around 20 percent of the year. In addition, legislators found a way to offset the state gas tax doubling from 19 to 38 cents by increasing their mileage reimbursements by that same amount.
“You can’t make this stuff up,” Batinick added. “It’s really just a bad joke.”
During the final days of the session, Batinick tried to warn his newer colleagues about the madness they should expect.
“Welcome to the emotions of the last week in May,” the Sun-Times reported him saying at one point during a debate on the House floor when voices rose and tensions mounted.
As for the pay raises, partisan politics apparently ruled the day as GOP leaders like Batinick charging top House Democrats with quietly removing language from a bill late in the process that essentially removed a decade-long freeze on such automatic adjustments.
“Absolutely, I believe that was all done by design,” Batinick said.
Batinick's 97th District includes parts of Oswego, Montgomery, Naperville, Plainfield, Bolingbrook and Shorewood.