Illinois House approves measure to halt lawmaker pay raises

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois House today approved legislation to repeal the automatic cost-of-living adjustment that lawmakers recently received according to State Rep. David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills), one of the lead co-sponsors of the legislation.‎ Legislators recently received a two percent automatic cost-of-living adjustment, which amounts to about an additional $1,563 annually. HB 576 eliminates the automatic COLA. The Senate must now pass the bill.

“Repealing the automatic pay increase is the right thing to do,” McSweeney said. “Giving legislators a pay increase when we have not passed a permanent budget is unconscionable. Now that we have rejected the pay increase, let’s finish doing our job and pass a permanent budget without raising taxes.”

Legislators are required by law to accept the COLA, which began on July 1st. McSweeney has already donated the full yearly amount of the COLA to charity. He donated $781.50 to the McHenry County Pioneer Center, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping economically disadvantaged and disabled people achieve their full potential as individuals. He also donated an additional $781.50 to the Night Ministry, a non-profit group that helps homeless children and adults.

McSweeney has voluntarily cut his own pay and district office budget by 10%. He’s also not going to accept his paychecks until the state budget crisis is solved. Earlier this year, McSweeney introduced House Bill 1313 which eliminates COLA’s for legislators and forces them to take furlough days.