Thursday, I told you Illinois state government's bills are piling up. According to the State Comptroller's Office, the tab is now $3.99 billion.
The inability of the state to pay bills on time is putting the squeeze on many local agencies. There is no widely available list (although one state lawmaker/candidate for governor proposed putting a list of unpaid vendors on-line: bradyforillinois.com/2009/10/29/brady-calls-for-public-disclosure-of-states-unpaid-bills/).
However, we are hearing from social service agencies in a tough spot right now.
TASC, a drug and mental health treatment organization that provides assessment and referrals to nearly 2,000 people in the metro-east, has not been paid for four months. The organization, which is based in Chicago, is borrowing money just to make payroll. To save money, employees were put on furlough for two weeks at the start of the fiscal year in July. tasc.org/preview/index.html
So, when will Illinois catch up on its bills?
Paying those bills will be difficult as interest payments and late penalties are adding up as well.
According to the comptroller: interest payments for two short term loans ($1 billion borrowed in May and $1.25 billion in August) are $26.8 million this year. www.ioc.state.il.us/
The General Assembly's Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability says the state will pay over $28.6 million in interest on late payments for state employee health care costs. ilga.gov/commission/cgfa2006/home.aspx
This is on the heels of a study showing Illinois ranks among ten states with the worst budgets in the country right now. www.pewcenteronthestates.org/uploadedFiles/wwwpewcenteronthestatesorg/BeyondCalifornia.pdf