Rep. Wehrli Seeks to Decrease Lawmaker Pay in Wake of COVID-19 Crisis

State Representative Grant Wehrli (R-Naperville) has signed on as a Chief Co-sponsor of legislation that would eliminate lawmakers’ automatic cost of living increase for the next General Assembly year and reduce pay down to 2019 levels.

HB 5777, filed this week in Springfield, is a direct response to the fiscal impact of COVID-19. “Every single Illinoisan has been impacted by COVID-19 and millions have had to absorb a negative hit on their finances,” said Wehrli. “As the State of Illinois grapples with a $7 billion to $8 billion hole in the revenue side of the Fiscal Year 2021 budget, legislators must lead by example and be part of the solution.”

Specifically, through HB 5777, the automatic 2.6% pay raise scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2020 and the 2.4% pay raise legislators received last year would be eliminated from their pay for the next fiscal year. According to state law, each year lawmakers receive an automatic pay raise unless they vote to reject the annual cost of living adjustment (COLA).

“There is no way the legislature can justify giving themselves a pay raise right now,” added Wehrli. “While I joined several other House Republicans in donating last year’s pay increase to local non-profits, as we face a wildly out of balance budget for Fiscal Year 2021, we need to keep that money in the budget so it can be allocated to critical state services.”