* I told subscribers about this yesterday morning, but the comptroller’s office has released a new and very depressing quarterly fiscal report. Some highlights… um, make that “lowlights“…
*The adjusted year-end General Revenue Fund balance was a negative $4.69 billion — a record.
*The backlog of unpaid bills on June 30 was $4.7 billion — a record.
*Because of the state’s financial condition, the amount of time it takes the comptroller’s office to pay bills once they arrive in the office is 153 working days — a record.
“Illinois ended the year in the worst fiscal position in its history,” the report concludes.
The full report is here.
* Human service advocate Don Moss sent this along earlier today…
FYI - Comptroller payment dates:
As of today for non-expedited payments:
For anything over $375.00 – for vouchers submitted up to November 6, 2009
For anything under $375.00 – for vouchers submitted up to June 3, 2010
This means that community nonprofit human service providers have to wait up to 8 months to be paid for their services unless they are on “expedited” payment. They can only qualify for expedited payments when they have no reserve funds and are close to running out of lines of credit with their banks.
The plan to further delay payments to providers in order to stretch the state’s insufficient funds will be devastating to many of them.
* The governor reacted to the comptroller’s new report by blaming the General Assembly for the problem…
Quinn’s budget office issued a statement that shifts the blame for many of the financial problems outlined in the comptroller’s report to lawmakers.
“For the second year in a row, the General Assembly refused to deal with the realities of the state’s economic crisis. Instead, legislators approved an under-funded state budget, which passed the tough decisions along to Governor Quinn,” the statement read. “Governor Quinn is working with legislators to urge them to take action to address the fiscal crisis by creating jobs, reducing spending, using responsible borrowing strategies and increasing revenues for our state.
“This budget crisis was created over several years of fiscal mismanagement, and Governor Quinn is committed to fixing it.”
* And more short-term borrowing is dead ahead…
Quinn’s budget office said it plans to borrow the $1.3 billion for failure of revenue later this month.
* Put into the context of Quinn’s bigtime pay raises for his top aides, this comptroller’s report doesn’t exactly make him appear to be a great manager with his priorites in order. For instance, here’s the Decatur Herald & Tribune…
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn apparently believes that his own staff is immune from the “shared sacrifice” he says is necessary to address the state’s horrific financial situation.
At the same time he was planning on spending cuts of $1.4 billion and talking of “shared sacrifice,” he was handing out raises to his staff. Some of those pay increases were more than 20 percent. […]
To get out of this financial crisis, the state needs leaders who understand they can’t be the Grinch in public and Santa Claus to their own staff.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn has a convenient definition of “shared sacrifice.” He’s all for it — except when it comes to his staff. […]
Apparently he is not seriously interested in downsizing government, but rather in holding on until the day after the November election. He must be confident he will win, and that lawmakers will come out of hiding and approve a tax increase
…the governor of Illinois is oblivious to the plight of his recession-battered constituents — and too undisciplined to do the job he inherited from Rod Blagojevich. Coming on successive days, though, the Associated Press report and the comptroller’s year-end numbers suggest that Pat Quinn’s administration just isn’t up to running a multibillion-dollar operation. […]
Yet the governor who last year promised to “cut, cut, cut” state government has been insulting citizens by quietly giving his employees nice raises.
* Gov. Quinn is in Carlinville this morning for a bill-signing ceremony with state Sen. Deanna Demuzio. That should be an interesting event, since Sen. Demuzio whacked the guv but good in Bernie Schoenburg’s column today…
“If the governor wants to advocate fiscal responsibility, then he needs (to) lead by example,” Demuzio said in her release. “The state cannot afford this while the budgets for education, human services, and public safety receive drastic cuts and mounting bills remain unpaid. … How do I explain to my constituents that while they are tightening their belts and making sacrifices, the employees of the governor are getting regular boosts in pay?”
* Quinn even got clobbered for his back to school sales tax holiday. Here’s the Sun-Times…
Parents who need relief should take it this August without hesitation.
But Illinois has not become a benevolent state with cash to burn.
It remains a reckless, irresponsible state that has dug itself into a hole from which it may never recover.
Mike Flannery at Fox Chicago…
The good news in this sales tax holiday is that consumers will save $50 million.
The bad news is that since the State of Illinois is $6 billion in the hole, Illinois will have $50 million less to pay the people it owes.
But Dave Vite defended the plan…
In other words, David Vite with the Illinois Retail Merchants, said people can save enough on the basics they may splurge on something else this year.
“They may save enough money to buy a new computer. They may save enough money to buy a printer. They save enough money that they weren’t able to purchase before because they have a few extra dollars in their pocket.” […]
“The fact that there is a sales tax promotion, retailers are also going to promote a little deeper. So there’s going to be additional benefit there.” […]
“Our shoppers have been going to Iowa for their sales tax holiday. Our shoppers have been going over to Missouri for their sales tax holiday. It’s now time for some of those folks to come back over to the really great state of Illinois to purchase their goods and services.”
* In other budget news, the governor still hasn’t yet said how he plans to actually make $41.9 million to the Department of Corrections’ budget. His budget documents said the department would reduce overtime and save cash through “operational efficiencies.” But union worker overtime is by far the largest chunk of cash in the department’s overtime costs, and Quinn won’t touch that…
But, in the case of overtime, Quinn says reductions should not apply to employees who are in labor unions. Most of the overtime costs in the prison system are tied to unionized guards having to work double shifts because of understaffing.
* Ill. university funding cut by $96 mil
* U of I Extension offices merge, downsize
* State slowly, surely paying school dists.
* News-Sun: Budget cuts
* Hinz: Springfield taking CTA, Metra riders on road to nowhere
* I Thought We Were Broke: Raises for state workers
* Illinois Sales Tax Holiday Signed By Governor Quinn, Savings for Consumers
* State sets sales tax holiday for some back-to-school shopping
* Quinn OKs sales tax holiday for back-to-school supplies
* Back-to-school shoppers to get tax break
* State Sales Tax Waived for Back-to-School