Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog grows to more than $15B
The state’s backlog of unpaid bills is expected to reach $22.7 billion if Illinois goes a third fiscal year without a budget.
The state of Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog has risen to more than $15 billion as of June 19, according to the Illinois Comptroller.
In May, unpaid bill debt stood at $14.3 billion. This $800 million spike comes as lawmakers prepare to head back to Springfield for a 10-day special session, during which time Gov. Bruce Rauner has charged them with passing a budget.
The latest budget proposal comes from state Republican lawmakers, who borrowed much of the “grand bargain” budget from Senate Democrats, including more than $5 billion in tax hikes.
Illinois’ rapidly growing budget deficit for the fiscal year ending June 30 is estimated to arrive at $6.2 billion, according to a fiscal review conducted by the Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability, or COGFA. And COGFA predicted that if Illinois were to enter its third fiscal year with no budget, the deficit would grow to $7.7 billion and the state’s unpaid bills would rise to $22.7 billion by June 2018.
At some point Illinois’ unpaid bills will have to be refinanced to save money, but that can’t happen until the state gets its spending problem under control – otherwise lawmakers will continue recklessly wasting tax dollars.
The Illinois Policy Institute has provided a reform road map that balances the budget without tax hikes. The plan provides tax relief to homeowners through a comprehensive property tax reform package and curbs administrative bloat in higher education and the state’s excessive number of local government entities.
Most importantly, it addresses Illinois’ pension crisis by implementing a 401(k)-style retirement plan for government workers going forward, a solution that’s been under lawmakers’ noses for nearly 20 years.