SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The one-year anniversary edition of the Debt Transparency Act (DTA) report, which was a result of legislation led by state Rep. Fred Crespo, D-Hoffman Estates, revealed that systemic budgetary issues have not been addressed and due to revenue shortfalls, Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills will grow by $1.5 to $2 billion dollars.
“The former administration left Illinois in even worse shape than imagined, threatening the stability of local schools, social service providers, and small businesses across the state,” Crespo said. “Undoing the damage caused by the last administration will not be easy, but I am ready to work with Gov. Pritzker and my Republican and Democratic colleagues to pass a responsible, balanced budget.”
The latest DTA Report is a result of Crespo’s House Bill 3649 from 2017, which required 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 one-year anniversary report confirms the following:
- Revenue shortfalls are expected to cause a $1.5 billion to $2 billion increase in the unpaid bill backlog;
- Temporary tools to manage the backlog do not resolve systemic budgetary issues. Dedicated funding is needed to lower the bill backlog; and
- Between Jan. 1, 2018 and Dec. 31, 2018, the Office of the Comptroller paid more than $711 million in late payment interest penalties.
The one-year anniversary debt transparency report can accessed online at https://illinoiscomptroller.gov/comptroller/assets/file/DTA/SpecialReportOnIllinoisFinancesAndFuture.pdf.
“Crafting a responsible budget that meets the needs of our state for the next fiscal year is going to be an incredibly challenging task. I urge policymakers not to forget about Illinois’ bill backlog, which currently stands at $7.5 billion,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “Without direct action, there’s no hope of substantially reducing our stack of unpaid bills.”
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