SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The January Debt Transparency Report, a result of legislation supported by state Rep. Silvana Tabares, D-Chicago, revealed that as of Dec. 31, 2017, Illinois had incurred more than $1 billion in late payment interest fees.
“Imagine what we could have done for working families with the $1 billion in penalty fees that taxpayers now owe because of Governor Rauner’s 700 day budget crisis,” Tabares said. “That’s $1 billion that will not be spent on improving our schools, expanding access to health care, and creating good paying jobs by fixing our broken infrastructure.”
Tabares voted to pass House Bill 3649, which gave way to the Debt Transparency Report. The Tabares-backed legislation requires agencies to report monthly to the Comptroller the liabilities they are holding, plus an estimate of the amount of late interest fees that will be paid on those bills. According to an analysis by the Comptroller’s Office, the first report confirms the following:
- Interest fees on late payments exceeded $1 billion through 2017;
- Unappropriated debt totaled more than $2.3 billion; and
- Bills pending at state agencies total roughly $2.5 billion.
“These reports are going to bring about much needed transparency as we work to restore financial stability to Illinois,” Tabares said. “Next month, when the governor presents his budget proposal to legislators he must lay out a plan to address the billions of dollars in lost opportunity for our state. Working families, small businesses, and social service providers deserve no less.”