* From the SJ-R…
As taxpayers rush to send in their 1040s Monday, folks sending a check to the Illinois Department of Revenue may be wondering what happens to all that cash.
The answer for at least $86.3 million last year is that it gets “flushed away,” according to state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.
The line of unpaid vendors is much longer and the bill is much higher than that comparatively small amount — the total for outstanding bills stood at nearly $5.9 billion as of Friday afternoon — but those tens of millions of dollars last year went to cover interest owed on those late payments.
If the state can’t pay its bills on time — after 90 days — private vendors become eligible for interest on the overdue amount. That accrues month after month until the bill gets paid.
Many of those overdue bills are in the Medicaid program, which means the state isn’t getting timely federal reimbursement, which just compounds the problems.