Halbrook calls out pay hikes for government employees
Sate Rep. Brad Halbrook (R-Shelbyville) thinks new Gov. J.B. Pritzker's moving to gift senior members of his staff with a 15 percent pay raise while also doubling the salaries for his top 20 staffers as one of his first acts of governance amounts to a smack in the face to taxpayers.
“It just seems like politically connected insiders are getting more lavish awards,” Halbrook told the East Central Reporter. “The signal it sends is that it’s still business as usual in Illinois for the politically connected, all of it coming at the expense of the already overburdened taxpayer. It’s just important to bring attention to the fact new government—and lawmakers in the lame duck session—had doing something like this foremost in their minds.”
Halbrook more thoroughly laid out his case in a Jan. 27 News-Gazette op-ed in which he wondered if the new governor’s motivation might have more to do with consolidating his power and maintaining his influence than anything else.
While Pritzker has vowed to personally underwrite the salary increases of his fortunate 20, Halbrook wonders in his op-ed how any senior staffers in any other administration will ever be willing to go back to the days of working for less.
“People going to work for the next administration are not going to want to do the job their predecessors did for less money,” he noted. “So, whether it happens now or in the future, taxpayers will be on the hook for these exorbitant salaries, which will not just impact the cost of paying these salaries but also will have an impact on pensions as well.”
Halbrook said he will be sitting front and center, filled with anticipation, when Pritzker gives his first budget address Wednesday.
“To say the least, it should be an interesting night,” he said.