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Tuesday, Jul 15, 2014

* 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.

Also this

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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - Steve - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 11:48 am:

    Pat Quinn promised the giant income tax increase was going end the Illinois “late bill ” problem. It didn’t. He could have cut government spending. Pat Quinn sure is greedy with other peoples’ money.

  2. - Just Trying to Survive - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    All of this pay down of bills AND making the annual appropriated pension payments too? Well, well. It can be done. Just think of what the so-called pension crisis (which isn’t) would be if this had been the normal operations rather than theft! Still, the much needed tax rate has to stay where it is or else we slip right back.

  3. - DuPage - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 11:59 am:

    Without the income tax being extended, Wall street will raise the interest rates on Illinois bonds. Why? They are not concerned so much about the tax rate, many states have higher tax rates then Illinois. What they ARE concerned about is if the state is going to obtain revenue to pay it’s bills.
    As it stands now, the state sees that MORE revenue will be needed. The state has taken steps to reduce it’s revenue. The only thing they could do is extend the income tax increase after the election, or have a budgetary train wreck within a couple of years.

  4. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    –He could have cut government spending.–

    You haven’t been paying attention. He and the GA (shared powers) have cut spending. If you don’t think so, check the books or ask the Rauner campaign. They’ll tell you where spending has been cut.

    Knocking $6 billion off the backlog and making full pension payments is an adult dose. Not fun at all, but an adult dose.

  5. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    If not for the budget they recently passed, we could have hoped this were permanent progress.

    So much for that.

  6. - Just Me - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 12:23 pm:

    Is any of this “good news” because of the start of a new fiscal year and finds being available July 1 that weren’t available June 30? My hunch is no because the back log issue is a cash flow issue and not a budget issue, but worth checking into.

  7. - LCP45 - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 12:25 pm:

    Quinn didn’t craft the budget, the GA did…they’re waiting to do the real work after the November election…in his defense, Quinn has cut spending, closed prisons, and provided efficiencies to State government operations…the GA did not…

  8. - Still Waiting for $$ - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 1:21 pm:

    Maybe they could send the money they owe to local government from LGDF, or did they delay those payments to improve the bill backlog during an election year? Naw, that wouldn’t happen.

  9. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 2:01 pm:

    Some Governors would wait until they turned the corner to issue a press release on debt owed to vendors beyond 30 days. Like, maybe when everyone got paid net 30. Not here in Illinois. Here you send a presser out when you’re “only” $4 Bil behind and it could well be the “best” it’s gonna get. Wow. What a place.

  10. - Just The Way It Is One - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 7:08 pm:

    All in all, paying off $6 BILLION of Illinois’ Bills in 4 years, any way you shake it, is really terrific news which Pat Quinn, SHOULD be proud of, CAN take real Credit for, AND, MOST importantly, given some of the attacks on TV Ads directed his way of late, is/was an oft-repeated PROMISE made by the Governor TO significantly REDUCE those Debts to Illinois–which he may rightfully tout now that he has KEPT!

    It should be remembered that this Issue involved a HUGE backlog of Bills owed which, with the Worst Recession since the Great DePRESSion having already hit Illinois full-force when he was sworn-into Office in 2009, was indeed a MASSive problem handed to him to fight/whittle down slowly but surely at the time–and I remember that he ASSURED the People he would do just that–and HE DID…! Promise kept.

  11. - Odysseus - Tuesday, Jul 15, 14 @ 10:36 pm:

    I knew there was a reason I liked JBT.

  12. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jul 16, 14 @ 6:23 am:

    JBT has always been a square shooter. She’s got my vote when she needs it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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