| CHICAGO, July 25
CHICAGO, July 25 Illinois lawmakers will not get
paid on Aug. 1 after Democratic Governor Pat Quinn refused to
approve their monthly compensation because they failed to reach
a deal to clean up the state's dismal finances, Illinois
Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said on Thursday.
"This is no way to run government," Topinka, a Republican,
said at a news conference, adding that she had no authority to
pay lawmakers over the objections of the governor.
"Threats, blackmail and inertia may be good theater, but it
makes us look ridiculous and takes away from our ability to get
things done," Topinka said.
Quinn on July 10 vetoed the money for lawmakers'
$68,000-a-year pay to spur the Democrat-controlled legislature
to reach a solution to the state's $100 billion unfunded public
A panel of lawmakers created by the legislature on June 19
has been negotiating but has not yet come up with a plan.
Quinn, who is also forgoing his paycheck, praised Topinka's
"Pension reform is the most urgent priority facing the state
of Illinois," the Democrat said in a statement on Thursday.
"Nobody should be paid until the job gets done for taxpayers."
The lack of action to fix the worst-funded state pension
system has pushed Illinois' credit ratings to the lowest level
among states. Rising pension payments have led to spending cuts
affecting core state services such as education.
Illinois also has a huge backlog of unpaid bills, which
totaled $6.8 billion on Thursday, according to Topinka, who
predicted the bill pile will grow to about $9 billion in