The total backlog of Illinois' unpaid obligations comes to about
$8.5 billion, according to the latest report from Topinka's office.
That means organizations that provide services for the state -- from
businesses to hospitals to charity groups -- must wait months to be
paid for their work. Topinka's office is still paying bills that
date back to Sept. 1.
The quarterly report from the Republican comptroller predicts the
backlog will continue at roughly the same level, despite spending
cuts and tax increases approved last year. On the bright side, the
cash crunch is significantly better than it was at the same point in
the two previous years.
Some of those awaiting payment are vendors who do work for the
state, hospitals that provide Medicaid services to the poor and
businesses that are owed tax refunds. Illinois also owes money to
its public employee health plan.
Gov. Pat Quinn and some Democratic lawmakers have proposed
borrowing so the state can pay some of what it owes to businesses,
community groups and charities that are going broke while waiting
for their money. But Topinka and most Republicans reject the idea of
borrowing more money with the state in such financial trouble.
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