Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) on the House floor | repugaste.com
Illinois state Rep. Dan Ugaste (R-Geneva) wants to put an end to automatic pay increases for Springfield legislators.
“I think if we feel we deserve a pay raise we should have to take an affirmative vote and let the voters judge if we’ve earned it,” Ugaste told the Kane County Reporter. “If all we’re doing is raising taxes and increasing fees, it’s hard to make a case for getting a raise.”
Ugaste is willing to put his money where his mouth is, recently filing House Bill 3910, which would phase out the General Assembly cost-of-living pay adjustments on or after July 1, 2020.
“I don’t think we should be getting automatic pay increases just because we're there,” Ugaste said. “This year we had a number of bills we filed to not take automatic adjustments but they never got called. These annual pay increases for lawmakers come from taxpayer dollars. We should have to take a vote and we should do so only when we are improving the state’s situation. Raising taxes to account for this pay increase is not the answer.”
It’s been nearly four decades now since the General Assembly enacted a law that automatically authorizes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) to the pay of state senators and representatives. This year, the General Assembly enacted legislation to appropriate the funds for the COLA, and a vote was not taken nor was legislation considered to opt out of the current law.
“I think a number of Republicans will support it,” Ugaste said. “I want citizens to realize that there still are people here in the legislature looking out for taxpayers and wanting to do what’s right.”
HB 3910 sits in the House Rules Committee awaiting further review.