State Representative Deanne Mazzochi (R-Elmhurst) has refused all legislative pay increases, and instead donated that salary to local charities each quarter. This quarter she is supporting the Elmhurst Walk-in Assistance Network, which provides emergency financial support, and other organizations that help local residents with food and rent. “EWAN is one of many great local non-profits that does amazing work to help people stay on their feet when life throws them a curveball,” Rep. Mazzochi continued. “We here in 47th District are resilient, but sometimes even the strongest among us just needs a little help.” Mazzochi encourages other community members who can to help out ahead of Giving Tuesday on December 1st.
“Too many people in our communities are still experiencing upheaval on both the financial and health care side,” Rep. Mazzochi said. “We’re still in the midst of an economic slump in view of the Governor’s COVID-related orders; and we’re entering the holiday period, which will be tough for so many.”
Over the last two fiscal years, over the objections of Republicans, House Democrats have secured a pay raise for legislators, something Rep. Mazzochi called “even more deeply objectionable when so many are suffering because of COVID-related effects and economic shutdowns.” A recent jobs report showed 73,515 new jobless claims during the last week of October. The previous week saw 53,138, meaning that Illinois had the second largest weekly increase in the nation and the largest total number of increased claims. No other state saw an increase over 4,000, as opposed to Illinois’ nearly 10,000 claims.
Illinois lawmakers receive the fifth-highest base salary in the country and that number is set to increase every year, despite lawmaker performance or Illinois’ fiscal condition, because a 1990 law gives Illinois legislators an automatic pay raise every year tied to the cost of living. The General Assembly can vote on a bill to forgo this increase and the per diem and mileage reimbursement. Rep. Mazzochi has sponsored legislation every year to do just that, however the House Democrats refused to consider the legislation either this year or last year. Because the State of Illinois has refused to reduce the legislative paycheck, Mazzochi has donated it instead.
“While this year has been difficult for so many, there is still much to be thankful for and generosity to be shared. I encourage everyone to do what they can to support one another. It doesn’t have to be financial assistance; you can cook a meal for your neighbor, connect with a senior who is struggling to cope with the necessary precautions of the pandemic, or do mental health checks on your friends. We grow stronger as individuals when we reach out and help others,” Mazzochi reiterated.
GivingTuesday, which began in 2012, has developed into a global generosity movement to inspire people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. Every year it falls on the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving.