Illinois Policy Institute Releases Special Report: Judicial Pay and Perks in the Prairie State

Illinois ranks 29th in cost of living, yet has one of the highest paid judiciaries in the country.

Oct 13, 2010, 11:00 ET from Illinois Policy Institute

CHICAGO, Oct. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Illinois Policy Institute released a special report revealing the salaries and perks of the state's judiciary, which judges and judicial organizations refused to discuss publicly.

Even though Illinois ranks near the middle of the national pack in terms of cost of living, the special report reveals how state taxpayers are subsidizing one of the highest-paid judiciaries in the nation.

Among the report's findings:

  • An Illinois circuit judge makes $39,855 more than a circuit judge in Iowa, $43,908 more than a circuit judge in Indiana and $49,701 more than a judge in Missouri.
  • Judges serving on the state's circuit courts are the second highest paid in the country.
  • Judges on the state Appellate Court also have the second-highest salaries in the nation, behind only California.
  • In addition to their salaries, Illinois Supreme Court justices receive free room and board when the court is in session. The third floor of the Supreme Court Building in Springfield contains apartments for the justices -- maintained at taxpayer expense. The rooms come with 24-hour security, maid service and a cook who prepares the justices' meals.
  • An Illinois judge receives 85-percent of their last year's salary after retiring -- one of the most lucrative judicial pensions in the country, and the highest pension for any state employee in Illinois.

"We certainly hope the General Assembly will examine judicial salaries during the next legislative session," said Lee Williams, the Institute's investigative reporter. "Given the dire economic predictions and the massive burden already borne by Illinois taxpayers, our judges need to tighten their belts too."

The release of this special report was made in conjunction with the launch of "The Last Honest Man Tip Line: 1-888-666-8809" -- an anonymous tip line for reporting waste, fraud and abuse throughout Illinois, at all levels of government.

According to Williams, who will operate the tip line, the Last Honest Man refers to "the hard-working public employee who has grown sick of working amidst corruption, who doesn't trust the government to investigate itself, and who's got nowhere else to turn."

About us: The Illinois Policy Institute is a nonpartisan research and education organization.

SOURCE Illinois Policy Institute