Davidsmeyer says state workers need to get their back pay

By Nick Kovatch on November 7 at 7:24am

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Jacksonville’s state representative believes state workers should get the money they’re owed.

It all stems from raises owed to thousands of state workers that were never paid. AFSCME, the union representing those employees, took the issue to court. Gov. Pat Quinn fought it, but eventually lost and agreed to pay the raises.

Quinn says he needs a supplemental appropriation to cover the cost.

“We passed a supplemental spending bill that did not include back pay which was court ordered and we’re paying 7 percent interest on it until we pay it, so it’s something that needs to be done,” says Davidsmeyer.

According to the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, around $140 million in back pay is owed, out of which about $112 million is still outstanding.

“It’s hard to say the state should borrow more money because we’re not using the money that we have very wisely, but we could probably borrow it at 3 or 3.5 percent when we’re paying 7 percent on these back wages,” says Davidsmeyer. “There’s certain things that can be done to limit the cost incurred to the state and we have to do everything possible to be able to provide services that we have now.”

But Davidsmeyer, a Republican, is in the minority.

“I think there’s support on both sides,” says Davidsmeyer. “Unfortunately, leadership on the majority side is holding it up for some reason and I do not know what that reason is.”

When it comes to pension reform, Davidsmeyer says don’t expect it to come up for a vote during veto session.