ILLINOIS (WCIA) — A new record hit an all-time high this week for the state’s finances. The bill backlog reached $16 billion; the largest it’s ever been.
It fluctuated to $15 billion for a few reasons. School aid payment just was distributed as well as pensions, so it was lowered to about $15.5 billion.
But, the reason there aren’t bigger drops in the backlog lies in the hands of Governor Bruce Rauner. He signed off on the authority to allow the state to borrow money at a lower interest rate, but, he’s yet to go shopping for a deal.
The budget allows the state to use up to $6 billion in bonds to pay vendors and service providers. Rauner said this week, the bonds don’t solve any problems and the blame instead falls on lawmakers for not setting aside money to make principal and interest payments for the next few years.
The comptroller’s office says it’s a big challenge, but hopes of seeing the backlog go down to what it was before the budget crisis will take a long time.
Previously, the backlog was at $5 billion but has skyrocketed since the budget crisis. While there’s a bigger revenue stream with the increase in income tax coming in, it still hasn’t helped make that big of a dent.
Rauner has also mentioned he wants to work with lawmakers to find more solutions to help pay down the debt, like finding ways to make cuts and other ways of saving.