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Barbara Flynn Currie

Closer Look: Lawmaker pay, a firestorm for years, lit again

Illinois government by the numbers: 27 days into a new fiscal year, the state has no budget, a deficit of up to $4 billion and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner insisting that Democrats in the Legislature embrace his five pro-business and anti-corruption initiatives. And in the face of those recalcitrant lawmakers, Rauner has brought some new figures into the equation: A 2 percent automatic cost-of-living increase, set to take effect this month to boost the $68,000 base legislative salary by nearly $1,400. "They've taken a pay hike for themselves without any budget and without any real reforms," Rauner said last week. It's also the first pay hike in seven years for salaries...