COLLINSVILLE, Ill. – To increase fiscal transparency in the governor’s office and state government, state Rep. Katie Stuart, D-Edwardsville, is sponsoring the Truth in Hiring Act to prevent the governor’s office from paying its employees out of budgets intended to fund services for children, veterans and the elderly.
“With the state in such dire shape and state agencies cutting services, this bill is necessary to ensure that government spending is transparent and that critical, scarce funding for vital services isn’t misused to pay for the governor’s administrative expenses,” said Stuart. “For years, Illinois governors have been hiding the size of their true budgets by paying staffers out of the budgets of other state agencies and using funds intended to help children in need, veterans and the elderly. This legislation puts an end to that irresponsible practice and ensures the greatest transparency in state spending.”
House Bill 5121 prevents the governor from paying salaries for governor’s office employees out of the budgets of other state agencies, including the Department on Aging and Department of Child and Family Services. Currently, 44 staffers are paid from Governor Rauner’s budget as governor and an additional 58 staffers of the governor’s office are paid from other agency payrolls. Rauner caused a controversy when it was revealed that he was paying his education secretary $250,000 from the Department of Human Services budget, which funds programs for domestic violence, children with autism, the developmentally disabled and food assistance for low income families.
“If the governor were honestly reporting all the people working in his office, he would have to disclose his office budget is more than $10 million, instead of the $4.9 million that is budgeted for the current fiscal year,” said Comptroller Susana Mendoza. “That’s more than $5 million being taken away from agencies that need it, like the Department of Children and Family Services that investigates child abuse; or the Department on Aging that cares for Illinois’ seniors.
House Bill 5121 was approved unanimously by the House and is awaiting Senate action.