* Democratic point…
A top aide to the Illinois treasurer said Thursday it was “unlikely” that the state’s cash balance was so low last week that the comptroller couldn’t follow a federal judge’s order to pay for services for the developmentally disabled.
The treasurer’s office pointed to daily balance sheets showing the state began the day on Friday with more than $217 million and ended it with more than $57 million on hand. The treasurer’s office also questioned whether Comptroller Leslie Munger only wrote checks to vendors whom she had to pay.
“Is it possible that the comptroller last Friday only paid those bills that are under some court order? It’s certainly unlikely. It’s especially unlikely given that they ended the day with $57 million,” said Greg Rivara, spokesman to Treasurer Mike Frerichs. ”They certainly could have at least paid some of those individuals on Friday, and she chose not to.”
* Republican counter-point…
“I wish he had contacted us before making such an absurd statement. To look at a balance and say there’s plenty of cash is as ridiculous as looking at my bank account after I’m paid and thinking I have money to burn,” said comptroller spokesman Rich Carter. “That might be true if I didn’t have a mortgage to pay, a car payment to make and kids to put through school. Similarly, the balance in the state’s checkbook has fluctuations as we accrue funds for the larger payments we’re obligated to make. ”
I side mostly with Carter at the comptroller’s office on this one. They have to make payroll, pay bond debt and fund pensions. All that requires them to stockpile money for big pay-out dates. The comptroller’s office has been doing this for a very long time, and they have experienced, non-partisan staff handling this stuff. The treasurer’s office has no such track record.
* However, this is a valid point…
“The comptroller’s office said money is tight because the tax increase was allowed to expire. The tax increase was allowed to expire because the governor asked that it expire,” Rivara said. “If the comptroller’s position is that there is a cash shortage, certainly, part of that is tied to the governor.”
*** UPDATE *** Letter from comptroller candidate and state Sen. Daniel Biss…
Illinois State Comptroller Leslie Munger 201 Statehouse
Springfield, IL 62704
Dear Comptroller Munger,
In my capacity as chairman of the Senate committee on Human Services, I write to seek clarification regarding payments to service providers across the state. It is unclear which payments have been made, and perhaps more importantly, the process by which the payments have been prioritized.
In addition to the documentation you will be providing to Judge Coleman, and in the interest of ensuring our most vulnerable citizens receive the care they need and deserve, I hope you can take a moment to respond to the following questions:
1. Under which consent decrees, court orders, state laws, and other statutory obligations are bills being paid?
2. What process was used to determine prioritization of those payments?
3. What are the top highest paid vouchers for July and August?
4. Estimated GRF, CSF and EAF (“general fund(s)”) bills on hand as of July 1, 2015, including
bills by governmental category
5. Estimated FY15 general fund bills on hand projected August 31, 2015
6. Estimated FY16 general fund bills on hand projected August 31, 2015
7. Estimated FY16 monthly general fund state employee payroll, based on average payroll for
month ending July 31, 2015
8. Estimated monthly liabilities incurred pursuant to vouchers submitted under consent decrees including: Memisovski v Maram, Beeks v Bradley, Colbert v Rauner, Benson v Blaser, Williams v Rauner, Ligas v Norwood, B.H. v Tate
Now more than ever our committee needs a clear understanding of the mechanisms by which these decisions are made so that we can effectively advocate for the citizens of Illinois. I appreciate your assistance in guiding us through the details of this process.
I would also like to invite you to a Senate committee on Human Services hearing on September 8th at 10:30 a.m. in room C600 of the Bilandic Building. The committee would appreciate any guidance and information you can provide us, and we would be grateful for your attendance.
Thank you again for your attention to these questions. With more information, we’ll be better equipped to serve our shared constituents.
State Senator, 9th District