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Approved budget covers lawmakers' base pay

Update: 10:14 pm, 6/8/14, Sunday ILLINOIS -- The new state budget means more money for lawmakers.
Update: 10:14 pm, 6/8/14, Sunday
ILLINOIS -- The new state budget means more money for lawmakers. WCIA-3's Alex Davis finds out how the state with the worst credit rating in the country has some of the highest-paid lawmakers.

"I think that's too much."

With so many people living paycheck-to-paycheck, Alene Boykin says it's not right for lawmakers to take more money home next fiscal year.

"No, I don't think they should, but it's not up to me, but I don't think they should."

Lawmakers have been taking twelve furlough days since 2011, cutting close to $3,000 from their annual base salaries. But, last fall, it was found to be unconstitutional. Last week, lawmakers voted to reinstate their full pay.

"You know, that's the way the government is, you know, they're going to do what they want to do."

Jim Soderstrom is a retired teacher. He says lawmakers don't deserve the money.

"I don't think those kinds of raises are warranted given the economic environment."

But, not all lawmakers are quick to accept the pay, saying they know people are falling on hard times and are struggling to make ends meet.

"We're asking you to have cuts in what you're getting paid from the state. We shouldn't be getting anything more."

Senator Mike Frerichs (D) says he won't take the money.

"The best thing to do is give the money back to a worthy charity."

Some think the state of Illinois is a charity case. Representative Sue Scherer (D) is working with comptroller Judy Baar Topinka to give her added pay back to the state.

Lawmakers make even more than their base pay. They get $111 per diem, each day of session, plus thousands more if they head a committee or serve in a leadership role. Even though lawmakers are opting out of furloughs, other state workers still have to take them.
Original: 4:42 pm, 6/4/14, Wednesday
ILLINOIS -- The new state budget means more money for lawmakers. Turns out, the spending plan approved last week did away with furlough days for lawmakers and reinstituted their base pay which is close to $68,000 per year.

Over the past few years, their salaries dipped because of forced furloughs. But last week, lawmakers voted to lift that. So, starting July 1, they'll return to their annual base pay.

Plus, some make even more money if they head a committee or serve in leadership. Many of these lawmakers consider this part-time work and have full-time jobs within their districts.

According to the National Conference of State Legislators, lawmakers in Indiana make roughly $23,000 per year; in Iowa, it's $25,000 per year.

Keep in mind, although lawmakers opted out of furloughs, other state workers still have to take them.
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