State's Paying Interest On 2011 Past Due Wages; May Finally Pay Up

Apr 15, 2015

Rep. Sue Scherer, D-Decatur, is sponsor of legislation that would have Illinois pay past-due wage increases to state workers.

Thousands of state employees are a step closer to receiving money they've been waiting on since 2011.

The Illinois House approved spending the approximately $63 million it'll take to pay workers raises they were guaranteed in their contracts, but which the state refused to hand over.

At the time, legislators say they didn't have enough money. The contract had been negotiated initially by Governor Rod Blagojevich, and didn't require legislative consent.

A court has since ruled the state is legally obligated to pay up. And with interest.

Democratic Representative Sue Scherer, who's from Decatur, says it's time to straighten out the mess.

"Quit pointing fingers at who caused what," Scherer. "Do what any good, economical person would do. Quit paying interest. And just deal with it and move forward."

Although the measure passed, it comes as the state faces a budget shortage.

Many Republican lawmakers complained that a bill Democrats rang up has been foisted in the new governor's lap. Gov. Bruce Rauner's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Anders Lindall, spokesman for AFSCME, says the union is pleased with the House's action, and encourages the Senate to follow suit. Lindall says it's about fairness.