New Report Details State of Illinois' Backlog of Unpaid Bills

Illinois budget impasse taking a toll on state finances, services

As a result of a budget impasse dating back to July of last year, the State of Illinois has accrued millions of dollars in unpaid bills.

The state currently owes payment for a variety of bills ranging from a mere $28.44 for water and sewer bills at a Springfield courthouse to $4.8 million for a joint health partnership with the State of Michigan, according to a report released Sunday by the Associated Press.

A $5 billion budget deficit has left the state without an official budget for the fiscal year that started July 1. The budget impasse has led to cuts in funding for social services and other programs. This includes Lutheran Social Services, the state's largest provider in social services, which have been forced to cut programs and staff.

The budget impasse further threatens the state’s social services as Illinois currently owes millions to $2 million to Ashley’s Quality Care in Chicago, an in-home assisted living provider for seniors. 

Although Ashley’s is still receiving federal funding, the company has been unable to meet its payroll for the past 14 weeks. As a result, clientele has been lost and 40 of the company’s 1,000 employees have departed.

“It’s really affecting us real bad,” chief executive accountant Michael Robinson told Ward Room. “We’re down probably about 30 percent of our client base.”

The State’s budget impasse has been typified by a battle between pro-business Governor Bruce Rauner and a Democrat-controlled legislature that insists on tax increases and spending cuts, according to the report.

"No one is more frustrated about the lack of a budget than Governor Rauner," Rauner spokesperson Catherine Kelly told Ward Room in a statement. "Bills could be paid if the Democrat-majority in the legislature worked with the Governor to pass structural reforms and a balanced budget."

The impasse hinges largely on the state's $111 billion in unfunded pension liability. During last week's state of the state, Rauner claimed to be working with Democratic Senate President Cullerton to pass legislation to remedy the problem.

Illinois continues to spend billions of dollars on services ordered by federal courts or limited legislative action.

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