State Comptroller finds pay suspension to be legal

By WEEK Reporter

July 25, 2013 Updated Jul 25, 2013 at 10:44 PM CDT

CHICAGO, Ill. -- Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said in a statement Thursday after a legal review of the Governor’s Amendatory Veto of legislative salaries that the Courts will have the final say on lawmaker paychecks.

Quinn said on July 10 that he would line-item veto House Bill 214, effectively stopping pay for legislators until a pension solution is found.

Topinka said that she did not agree with Quinn's handling of the issue, but it is legal for him to suspend the pay of legislators. She said that the case of AFSCME vs. Netsch was the precedent for her decision.

In that case, a judge ruled that payment could not be made after a veto without a court order or appropriation.

“It is my deep hope that this matter is resolved expeditiously either by legislative action or court intervention," Topinka said.

“Threats, blackmail and inertia may be good theater, but it makes us look ridiculous and takes away from our ability to get things done. It is time for leaders to lead," Topinka continued.

Quinn said that Topinka properly recognized the law and reiterated the need for pay suspensions.

"Pension reform is the most urgent priority facing the state of Illinois," Quinn said. "Nobody should be paid until the job gets done for taxpayers."

Quinn also said he asked Topinka to withhold his paycheck as well.

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