Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza is calling for an end to what she calls “exit bonuses” for Illinois lawmakers. Legislators who resign their seats in the General Assembly before the end of their term no longer would be paid for days they haven’t worked under the new proposal. “While this has been permissible on how these checks have been billed out in the past, I don’t think it should happen that way, and we should put an end to it. This ‘exit bonus’ needs to go way. It’s a glaring loophole.”
Mendoza’s plan was prompted by recent cases involving State Senator Martin Sandoval and State Representative Luis Arroyo – each of whom are under federal investigation – who resigned their seats on the first day of the month but still received paychecks for the entire month. The practice is currently allowed under state law. Mendoza was angered by the though that the two men waited to resign in order to receive the extra money: “Which is even sneakier on their part, right? On their way out, they are hiding under a rock somewhere. Instead, they are resigning on the first of the month so they can get the whole 30 or 31 days worth of pay. It’s sick.”
Under the new proposal, lawmakers who leave in the middle of their term would be compensated on a prorated basis. The same rule would apply to any lawmaker appointed to complete a term. In addition, lawmakers would be paid twice a month like all other state employees. In the past, taxpayers have sometimes been on the hook or two lawmaker salaries for the same position. Not only did the outgoing lawmaker get a check for a full month’s salary, their replacement did as well – even if the replacement began at the end of the month.
Senate Bill 2456, sponsored by Democrat State Senator Cristina Castro of Elgin will be taken up during the General Assembly’s first session of the new year on January 28th.