DID YOU GET $12,000 INCREASE THIS YEAR? – Decatur Grandstand

Editor Paul Osborne

THE ANSWER to the question in the title is – you got a $12,000 raise for 2023 if you’re an Illinois legislator. Illinois lawmakers voted themselves a 17% raise to $85,000, nearly triple the median wage for workers in the Decatur area.

• WIRED POINTS is an independent, nonprofit company that provides original research and commentary on the economy and government of Illinois, and I particularly appreciate his recent commentary on the Illinois lawmakers’ salary hike: “At the In recent years, lawmakers have done nothing to fix pensions, property taxes, or emigration, while actively worsening Illinois’ schools, crime, and business climate. Illinois currently has the second-highest unemployment rate in the nation, and there are fewer jobs today than when Governor Pritzker took office. Based on all of this, Illinois lawmakers deserve a pay cut or worse.

“Instead, they just imposed a massive pay rise on themselves. In another lame and partisan vote, Democratic lawmakers in both houses voted to increase congressional salaries by nearly $12,000. That bumps the lawmakers’ salary — still a part-time job — to $85,000.

“Illinois lawmakers were already the fifth highest paid lawmakers in the nation in 2022. The increase will lift them to 4th nationally and make Illinois an extreme among its neighbors. “Illinois lawmakers, meanwhile, are not fighting inflation. Their latest extra pay raise comes on top of the automatic annual cost-of-living increases that lawmakers started giving themselves again in 2019.

“And base salaries are only part of legislators’ compensation. There are stipends of $11,000 to $30,000 for legislators in committee and leadership positions, additional per diems, subsidized health insurance and, of course, guaranteed lifetime pensions.

“It’s a perfect illustration of the two-class system at work in Illinois. Lawmakers vote themselves guaranteed raises on top of their guaranteed pensions, while forcing private sector workers, who don’t earn as much and don’t have such guarantees, to pay them.

Fred Spannaus

• CHOSEN SPANNAUS — As I’m sure you know by now, the Decatur School Board voted last week (just after we went to press) to approve the nomination of Fred Spannaus to fill the seat vacated by Regan Lewis. Spannaus served on the school board from 2013 to 2017 and will complete Lewis’ term, which expires in April. Lewis, who was in her first term on the board and not running for office, resigned because her family is moving out of county to be closer to her husband’s job, making her ineligible for serve on the Decatur Board of Directors. It’s understandable, but I can’t remember a time when so many school board and city council members quit early in a short time. I have known Fred Spannaus for many years and he is a good fit for this school board seat.

• ROOT REACTIONS – Macon County Sheriff Jim Root issued the following statement regarding HB 5471: “Recently, state officials passed HB 5471, also known as the ‘Protect Illinois Communities Act.’ have done, knowing that it violates your inalienable right to keep and bear arms in defense of life, liberty, and property, in flagrant violation of the Second Amendment to the United States Bill of Rights and the I, Section 22, of the Illinois Constitution My duty and responsibility to the citizens of Macon County who elected me is to protect and uphold the Constitution of the United States and the State from Illinois.

Sheriff Jim Root

“I, along with many others, believe that HB 5471 is a clear violation of my oath and of the two Constitutions I have sworn to protect. I am supported by the Macon County Board which previously passed the 2018 resolution G-4926-11-18 opposing similar legislation.

“As a result, as Jail Warden and Chief Law Enforcement Officer of Macon County, neither I nor my office will check to ensure that lawful gun owners are registering their guns with We will also refuse to harbor or imprison any law-abiding person who has been arrested by other agencies solely for violating this law.

Apparently, from all the press releases and reports I receive, a large number of sheriffs in our state share the sentiments of the Macon County Sheriff on this matter.

• THE BIRD — Last week’s article about a bird flying inside my car at the South Shores Dairy Queen driveway generated a lot of comment. I guess people are more interested in flying birds on cars than in “politics”. (Good choice.)

One of the emails I received was from Sam Cahnman, Sangamon County board member and candidate for Springfield City Council (to reclaim his old seat), who asked, “This photo of bird in your column a photo of the actual bird that flew into your car?” Actually no. I didn’t have time to ask the bird to stay and let me take pictures and get an autograph – or a “birdgraph”.

Sam and friend bird.

Sam wrote: ‘One time a bird came into my flat and another time into my office, and it wasn’t easy to persuade them to leave. Looks like you got really lucky. Sam sent me the picture of a bird on his shoulder, not a wild one (wild bird not Sam’s shoulder). Sam, I want this bird in a police queue. He looks a lot like the bird that flew inside my car! (Actually, the bird that flew into my car was a sparrow, but, if George Santos said so, it was a cockatoo – possibly a bald eagle!)

Where else can you lie about everything on your resume, like Santos did, to get hired and keep your job once the truth is known? Congressman Santos lied about every aspect of his life and then claims he didn’t do anything “unethical” – which, of course, was also a lie. It should be “non-seated” and someone appointed to the position.

• CHECK check out this week’s edition of the Decatur Tribune for more City Beat, Viewpoint and lots of Decatur and Central Illinois news.

• I JOIN Brian Byers on WSOY’s Byers & Co. every Thursday morning at 7:00 a.m. We have discussed issues affecting Decatur and our area approximately every Thursday for the past 20 years.

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