* The governor’s office has sent me this press release three times since yesterday…
Governor Quinn Announces State’s Backlog of Bills Falls to $3.9 Billion
Lowest Point Since Governor Quinn Took Office; Strict Spending Brings Backlog Down from High of $9.9 Billion in 2010
CHICAGO - Governor Quinn today announced that the state’s backlog of bills has fallen from a high of $9.9 billion in 2010 down to $3.9 billion as of June 30, the lowest point since the Governor took office. Five years ago, Illinois was home to the worst pension crisis in America and the state’s backlog of bills was on its way to more than $9 billion. Since taking office, Governor Quinn has made tough decisions, enacted major structural reforms and cut state spending by more than $5.7 billion.
“Making the tough decisions has moved Illinois forward,” Governor Quinn said. “Today Illinois is in a stronger financial position than we were five years ago and we have more work to do to continue moving our finances in the right direction.”
The backlog of bills is now closer to the typical private industry 30-day billing standard – about $2.2 billion in Illinois’ case – and is a direct result of the Governor’s willingness to make the tough decisions including overhauling the Medicaid program, reforming worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance systems and implementing major efficiencies such as closing and consolidating more than 50 state facilities.
I agree that this is good news, but the state is still $1.7 billion away from its 30-day billing goal.
But that income tax increase? It’s set to expire in January, halfway through this new fiscal year.
Democrats involved with crafting the budget have said they expect that’ll bump up the bill backlog again.
Illinois’ Comptroller, Republican Judy Baar Topinka, was unavailable for comment. But she recently said Illinois’ finances are “still a mess” and that she supports keeping the tax rate higher, and phasing it out over time.