Illinois Worst 'Deadbeat State' in the Nation: Report

Backlog tops $5 billion

Sunday, Oct 16, 2011  |  Updated 2:22 PM CDT
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Illinois Doesn't Pay Bills on Time: Report

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Illinois has more than a little trouble paying its bills on time, according to a new analysis.

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Experts say Illinois appears to be the worst state in the country when it comes to paying bills late.

Illinois regularly lets several billion dollars of bills stack up. Businesses and community groups sometimes wait months to be paid for their services.

Many states slow down payments when money is tight, but it has become the status quo in Illinois.

The Council of State Governments says it doesn't know of any other state that matches Illinois' backlog, which topped $5 billion last month.

And an expert with the Urban Institute think tank says Illinois wins the prize for worst in the country.

An Urban Institute survey in 2009 found that more non-profit groups reported late payments in Illinois than in any other state.

Going without payment for months at a time can force vendors to borrow money, lay off staff, cut salaries and more.

Figures from the Illinois comptroller showed thousands of business bills that were a month or more overdue in early September. They totaled roughly $67 million.

Some of that was owed to Irvin Klemmensen, an airplane mechanic in Jacksonville. He says he had to lay off two people, largely because of slow payment from the state.

The largest ambulance service in downstate Illinois, Advanced Medical Transport, says it will drop one of its state contracts.

And a funeral director in Fairview Heights says some funeral homes have stopped serving the indigent.

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