* From an SJ-R story on the state’s bill backlog…
[Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s spokesman Brad Hahn] said that a strong tax season this year allowed the office to “aggressively pay down bills” in April and May. By the end of May, the backlog was down to $5.8 billion and vendors were waiting a minimum of two months to be paid, half what they were waiting at the start of April.
That was, however, the high-water mark in the state’s efforts to pay bills on time. By the end of June, also the end of the state’s fiscal year, the backlog was sitting at $6.1 billion.
By Oct. 1, the backlog was up to $7.5 billion, including bills being held in state agencies prior to being given to Topinka’s office for payment. And as of late last week, the total was at $8.8 billion — an even higher number than at the start of April.
Hahn said the office believes the total will hit $9 billion by the end of December, exactly where Topinka predicted it would be last summer. It is the second year in a row the backlog will sit at about $9 billion at the end of the calendar year.
* Drudge had a little fun at Illinois’ expense today…
* But let’s define “backlog,” shall we?
According to the comptroller’s office today, $4.6 billion of that $8.8 billion “backlog” is less than 30 days old. I’m not sure how that can be defined as old bills.
Also according to the comptroller’s office, $1.6 billion of those bills are between 30-60 days old, so that’s not terribly horrible. But, $2.6 billion in invoices have surpassed the 60-day mark since the comptroller received the payment paperwork.
Yes, the trend is not good. But the problem isn’t as bad as reported.