Each year, the Tax Foundation honors state legislators, executives, and other individuals with its Outstanding Achievement in State Tax Reform award. As the name suggests, the honoree's accomplishments...
- The Tax Policy Blog
- Illinois Treasurer Criticizes Plan to Borrow $4 Billion t...
Illinois Treasurer Criticizes Plan to Borrow $4 Billion to Pay Past-Due Bills
From Fox Illinois:
In January 2011, Illinois lawmakers promised to use part of a 67-percent personal income tax hike to pay down old bills — bills that amounted to $8.5 billion. Today, as they consider borrowing $4 billion — again to pay down old bills — the backlog stands at more than $9 billion.
As of Wednesday, there were 196,141 unpaid bills at the comptroller’s office, amounting to $6.9 billion. Add to that the bills that haven’t been sent to the comptroller yet, including $1 billion in Medicaid payments and $1.4 billion in employee health insurance payments.[…]
It’s a structural issue, said state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka. “This is not hard to understand. If you keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, you get the same result,” she said.
The legislature had been expected to consider the $4 billion borrowing plan, but that’s now been pushed off until January. In many ways, Illinois is the state most in fiscal trouble: it has never really cut spending after revenue growth fell off during the recession, instead vainly hoping that the good times would return. (In fact, total state spending has grown from $45.1 billion in FY 2011 to $53.4 billion in FY 2012 to $57.4 billion for FY 2013.) Instead, they’ve been piling up unpaid bills when they didn’t have the cash. If states could be forced into bankruptcy status, Illinois probably would have been by now. However, if they sold more bonds Illinois would likely find many willing buyers: the state is paying just a 3.62 percent interest rate on an April offering. (Better than Greek government bonds, for now.)
Get Email Updates from the Tax Foundation
We will never sell or share your information with third parties.
Join the Tax Foundation's fight for sound tax policy Go
About the Tax Policy Blog
The Tax Policy Blog is the official blog of the Tax Foundation, a non-partisan, non-profit research organization that has monitored tax policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937. Our economists welcome your feedback. If you would like to send an e-mail to the author of a blog post, please click on that person's name to locate his or her e-mail address or visit our staff page here.