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Comptroller Says She Can't Pay Illinois Lawmakers

CHICAGO (AP) - Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says she has no choice but to withhold paychecks from Illinois lawmakers.

Topinka spoke Thursday in Chicago after her office reviewed Gov. Pat Quinn's decision to cut state legislator's paychecks from a budget bill earlier this month. He called it the consequence for lawmakers' failure to address the state's $97 billion pension shortfall.

Topinka says she talked with the Illinois attorney general's office and they advised her that comptrollers can't pay state employees without an appropriation.  She hopes the matter will be resolved "expeditiously." She says the courts likely will have the ultimate say, unless lawmakers quickly adopt pension reform.

Topinka says in her opinion government shouldn't be run through threats and blackmail.

Lawmakers are scheduled to receive their next paychecks on Aug. 1. 

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