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Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, right, looks at supporters after defeating Republican incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner in Chicago, Tuesday, Nov. 6. Pritzker is using his personal wealth to increase salaries of his staff.

SPRINGFIELD — Billionaire Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker, who pumped more than $171 million of his own wealth into his campaign to defeat Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner in November, now will use his own money to bolster his top government aides' salaries, his transition team reported Friday.

Pritzker's incoming Chief of Staff Anne Caprara will be paid a salary of $298,000 -- $148,000 in state money and $150,000 more from East Jackson Street LLC, an organization Pritzker set up to "enable the governor-elect to personally compensate some staff in addition to their government salary," a spokeswoman said in a statement.

Rauner's chief, by comparison, made $180,000 in 2018, according to state records.

The Pritzker camp announced the unusual arrangement days before he is inaugurated on Monday. On top of the new LLC, lawmakers this week approved legislation that would allow the incoming governor to pay new agency heads 15 percent more.

Supporters contend Illinois trails other big states in the salaries it offers for big jobs. The heads of the state Department of Corrections and Department of Transportation, for example, make about $150,000 per year.

Pritzker's transition team pointed to former New York City mayor and fellow billionaire Michael Bloomberg supplementing his staff's pay with his own money. The transition team says Pritzker's move means some aides will have lower taxpayer-funded salaries than Rauner's, and they'll have to report the supplemental income on ethics forms.

"This process will take place in a transparent manner with requirements that information be reported publicly," Pritzker spokeswoman Jordan Abudayyeh said in a statement.

According to a transition document, deputy governors such as former state Comptroller Dan Hynes will make a salary of $278,000 — $139,000 from the state and $139,000 more from Pritzker's LLC. The same numbers go for the senior adviser role.

Only their state salaries will count toward calculating their eventual pension benefits, the transition team said.


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