The Illinois House Tuesday approved 15-percent pay increases for incoming cabinet members.
The 49 positions include the director of prisons, the transportation secretary and the directors of other agencies governing human services, health care, the environment and more.
Democratic Gov.-elect J.B. Pritzker says Illinois salaries for agency directors and assistant directors aren't competitive with other states.
Republican Representative Dave Severin of Benton voted against the pay hikes. He says before administrative pay raises, Illinois needs to pay down its multi-billion dollar debt.
"With the new administration coming in there'll be those political appointments. Things will change as far as who are the directors of different departments and those things, but it just doesn't make sense to me to be giving raises when we can't pay the bills we have now."
Severin is set to begin his second term representing the 117th district in southern Illinois.
The Benton republican says jobs remain a top priority for area lawmakers so they will be pushing for more vocational education training in schools.
"Somehow we've got to find a way, even grade school, junior high level, high school, and then of course in junior colleges and universities. There are people who are very, very capable of getting really good jobs in the vocational professions. (They) just need to get the correct training."
Severin says bills he plans to introduce again in the new session include allowing for the sale of fireworks in Illinois; helping Illinois companies in the bidding process against out-of-state businesses; allowing schools to save money by posting their budgets online instead of in newspapers as well as no pay raises for House members and their staffs.
The new General Assembly will be sworn-in at noon Wednesday in Springfield.