Rep. Miller plans to donate his share of lawmakers' pay raises, not taking part in 'taxpayer abuse'
Republican state Rep. Chris Miller (Oakland) says it was a slap in the face to Illinois taxpayers for the Democratic majority in Springfield to allocate a pay raise for lawmakers as part of the governor's new $40 billion state budget.
“The thing that amazes me the most is the lack of consideration for any of the taxpayers because they just massively slaughtered them when it comes to taxes and, lo and behold, they’ve hidden a raise for themselves,” Miller told the East Central Reporter. “What they did was taxpayer abuse. It was like pouring salt in the wound.”
As already overburdened taxpayers brace themselves for an assortment of new fees, Democratic Gov. J.B. Pritzker wasted little time in signing off on a $1,600 annual increase for lawmakers that takes effect on July 1. That raises the annual salary of legislators in Springfield to roughly $70,000 for a part-time job that only requires them to be in session for less than one-fifth of the year. Among other perks, members also receive mileage reimbursement and per diem allowances.
“And here’s another thing, they raised the gas tax 19 cents and then they increased their stipend,” Miller added.“I mean, I thought to myself, ‘These guys don’t even have a conscience about the relationship with the taxpayer.' They raised our per diem 19 cents and raised the gas tax 19 cents.”
While Illinois Policy Institute reports that more than 40 GOP lawmakers have inked a resolution rejecting such raises, Miller said he plans on making use of the added funds in the same way he does with his salary and other perks, all of which he donates to area schools in his district.
“I want to take that $1,600 bucks and pay for their curriculum," he said. “I’d like to spend it that way as far as it will go. If I take it, I can control how it’s spent.”
Miller has the impression that voters across the state are growing more frustrated with everything they see coming out of Springfield.
“I think that there’s a lot of anger just from what I’ve been watching on social media,” he said. “A lot of guys who voted for this, they’re really getting beat up bad. No one is safe when the General Assembly is in session. That’s my takeaway from my first term.”