Last week State Representative Steve Reick (R-Woodstock) received a check in the mail representing interest earned on back-pay that was withheld from lawmakers during the budget crisis last year. On Tuesday, Reick returned that check to the Comptroller.
The Illinois Prompt Payment Act (30 ILCS 540) provides that if a payment is not made to a vendor within 90 days of receipt of a proper invoice, an interest penalty of 1% of any unpaid amount will accrue for each month, or on a prorated basis. Vendors range from small private contractors to larger entities such as not-for-profit groups, local school districts, public universities, the corrections system and the Regional Transportation Authority. As Reick learned last week, it also comes into play when lawmakers are not paid on time.
“With a backlog of bills approaching $7 billion, I was surprised to receive an interest check in the mail from the Illinois Comptroller,” said Reick. “I didn’t ask for this check, I don’t need this check, and I don’t want this check. The State of Illinois certainly needs this money a lot more than I do.”
Upon returning to Springfield on May 8 for the remaining weeks of the spring session, Reick took the check to the second floor of the Capitol, walked in to the Comptroller’s office, and signed the interest check back over to the State of Illinois. “Sending these checks to lawmakers was just silly,” Reick said. “I am not aware of any legislator who requested interest to be paid on pay checks that were delayed during the budget impasse.”