Morrison says there's no room in budget to pay for AFSCME step increases
After the Illinois Labor Relations Board rejected the governor's request to send a ruling on $412 million in step increases owed to members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31 to an administrative law judge, Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) explained that there is a limit on what taxpayers in Illinois can reasonably afford to pay.
Gov. Bruce Rauner froze automatic compounding pay hikes in 2015 when he took office, but the AFSCME challenged the governor's freeze and an Illinois court ruled in its favor.
The governor's office estimates it will cost $412 million for just the four years of higher pay if indeed the state is forced to pay all of the past years' frozen step increases in the fiscal 2019 budget.
"This last state spending plan approved in May already committed all of the money the state expects to collect with no room for either expected or unexpected shortfalls," Morrison told North Cook News.
Morrison explained that if the state is required to pay the bonuses, then the state would also be right in requiring its employees to cover more costs such as group health insurance.
"Or the state should consider cuts to its headcount," Morrison said. "Here we go once again. The state overcommits to expenditures and under-delivers on the kind of reforms that would reduce costs and/or expand our tax base."