TOPINKA: COURT TO HAVE ULTIMATE SAY ON LAWMAKER PAYCHECKS
Comptroller anticipates judicial guidance
CHICAGO – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka made the following statement Thursday after a legal review of the Governor’s Amendatory Veto of legislative salaries:
“After the Governor used his Amendatory Veto to remove the budget line items for lawmaker salaries, I asked my staff to conduct a legal review and determine the appropriate course of action. That review included discussions with the Governor’s legal staff, Legislative legal staffs and the Attorney General’s Office. While there is conflicting opinion on this matter, I believe the case of AFSCME vs. Netsch provides the most pertinent guidance. In that case, the court ruled that the Comptroller could not pay state employees without an appropriation.
“This situation is different in that it involves two, co-equal branches of government, and that distinction may well be considered by the Court down the line. But at this point in time, the Attorney General has advised that these payments cannot be made without an appropriation or court order.
“It is my deep hope that this matter is resolved expeditiously either by legislative action or court intervention. Given the serious precedent that is being created, I look forward to receiving additional guidance from the judicial branch.
“By way of Editorial comment, let me be clear: this is no way to run government. 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.”