WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Comptroller: No Money to Pay Bills

Springfield, IL – Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes says the state has more than $5 billion in unpaid bills and that number is growing.

Hynes says that number is even larger if you include short-term loans that need to be repaid soon. In addition, $1.4 billion worth of healthcare bills are not factored in because they have not yet been sent to his office.

As comptroller, Hynes is supposed to pay the state's bills. But Hynes says he can't do so because Illinois doesn't have the money.

Hynes says his office has no choice but to leave schools, social service providers, and other government vendors waiting more than four months to be paid what they're owed. He says the backlog includes grants to school districts and pre-school programs totaling $1 billion, university and community college payments in excess of $775 million, and local government and transit district payments of more than $478 million.

Hynes, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor against incumbent Pat Quinn, alleges Quinn is making a political calculation. He thinks Quinn is waiting until after the February 2nd primary to make tough budget decisions.

"The governor's unwilling to deal with budget crisis, he wants to wait 'til after the election," says Hynes. "But there's a consequence to that. That means the fiscal problem gets worse, the cash flow problem gets worse, and the pressures on our budget get worse. And we're reaching dangerous levels."

Meanwhile, Quinn says more bills will be paid later this month when the state completes a new round of borrowing.

The governor says Hynes has been uncooperative while his administration has tried to resolve Illinois' budget troubles.

Thanks to Illinois Public Radio