Illinois comptroller says state worker paychecks processed

Reuters News
Posted: Jul 13, 2015 3:55 PM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - State workers in Illinois will get their paychecks on time and in full this week even as the Democrat-controlled legislature and Republican governor remain at odds over a budget for the fiscal year that began July 1.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger announced on Monday that her office has processed payroll for Wednesday's pay day. The move came after a St. Clair County Circuit Court judge gave Munger the green light last week to pay all state workers.

That decision conflicted with a prior Cook County Circuit Court ruling that allowed only for federal minimum wage payments to certain state workers as required under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act. Munger's office had argued it was unfeasible to meet that requirement given Illinois' antiquated computer systems and that the state could face stiff federal penalties for noncompliance.

"While the legal process will continue to play out, I am confident that the court will ultimately see that paying all state employees is the best and only way to protect the state from significant federal fines," Munger said in a statement.

Paying workers will relieve some of the pressure on lawmakers and Governor Bruce Rauner to agree on a fiscal 2016 budget. The Illinois Senate will be back in session on Tuesday to take up a $2.26 billion, one-month budget and payroll bill passed by the House last week.

Rauner, who vetoed a $36 billion full-year budget passed by Democrats, has said he opposes their temporary budget as well.

(Reporting by Karen Pierog; Editing by Leslie Adler)