Illinois lawmakers highest paid U.S. legislators for the amount of work they do, IPI reports
Illinois lawmakers will receive their first pay increase since 2008 in the amount of $1,628 after the General Assembly passed the budget and Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed it into law on June 6.
The new raise will put state legislators' annual income at $69,464, one of the highest in the United States. The nationwide average is $38,434.
Illinois lawmakers are considered by the National Conference of State Legislatures to be ‘full-time lite’ rather than full-time, meaning they serve smaller districts and work shorter sessions than full-time lawmakers, but are highly paid, employ large staffs and spend at least 80 percent of their jobs on legislative work, according to Illinois Policy Institute (IPI). They are the highest paid full-time lite legislators because the other state lawmakers that make more than Illinois (California, New York, Pennsylvania and Michigan) are considered full-time.
Beyond the base income, lawmakers are entitled to $10,000 in committee chairmanship stipends, per diems and mileage reimbursements.
In addition to being paid over the state’s median household income of $61,229, Illinois lawmakers also depend on millions in annual payouts through the General Assembly Retirement System (GARS). GARS has less than 15 cents for every dollar needed to pay lawmakers their benefits, and Illinois residents pay for salaries plus 1.5 times salary for pension plans.
Fifty-eight of Illinois' former lawmakers collect six-figure pensions, and 44 of them have received over $1 million in benefits. Illinoisans have a right to be frustrated with the amount lawmakers earn in salary and receive in benefits because the average contribution to those benefits is only $126,300, with the rest on the shoulders of the taxpayers.