Experts: Illinois’ high public salaries one of many ‘drops in the bucket’

Here is Jacob Bielanski writing at Illinois News Network about the problem few legislators want to talk about — excessive state employee salaries — so not enough Illinoisans know how bad it is:

More than 63,000 public employees in Illinois earn salaries over $100,000, according to a new report, but experts say these high prices are only a small part of Illinois’ bigger budget problems.

“We’re years late in treating this like the emergency that it is,” Mark Glennon, founder and financial columnist for, told Illinois News Network. “For now, we have to move forward on pretty much every cost-saving reform that has ever been discussed.”

The public salary report – released by American Transparency, a non-profit that runs the government transparency website – says that public salaries account for more than $10 billion every year in the Land of Lincoln. Adam Andrzejewski, the website’s founder and CEO, said the group first went “live” with Illinois data on public salaries in 2011, and has been updating every year since.

“Bloated public payrolls and highly compensated public employees are a statewide problem,” Andrzejewski said. “Our investigation of the latest compensation data shows that there is no end in sight.”

For example, Andrzejewski pointed out, Park Forest District 163 Superintendent Joyce Carmine’s salary has grown from just over $81,000 in 2000 to nearly $400,000 last year, according to data he provided INN.

“Illinois is broke and our property taxes are going higher because there are more public employees costing taxpayers more in pay, perks and pension,” he said. “The system is unsustainable.”

Read more: Illinois News Network

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