Illinois is so far behind paying bills that the comptroller says unpaid bills will soon double despite tax increase.

Please consider Illinois Statehouse News Old overdue bills still an issue for Illinois

The state’s stack of unpaid bills will soon double despite an income tax increase, according to state Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

The four year, temporary personal income tax hike of 67 percent was approved on the final day of the previous Legislature and recently signed by Gov. Pat Quinn. In part, the income tax hike is designed to help Illinois catch up on past-due bills and stop being delinquent on its payments.

“Our current backlog of bills stands at $6 billion, and the increased revenues will help address this backlog,” said Kelly Kraft, spokeswoman for the governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

Not quite, according to Topinka, who is in charge of Illinois’ checkbook.

“By the time we get through four years from now and all of this and what they’re able to spend, we will probably have a debt of $12 billion of unpaid bills that have yet to be dealt with,” the Riverside Republican said.

Topinka said her office is now working on getting last August’s bills paid.

Shortly after the income tax increase passed the state House of Representatives, House Republican Leader Tom Cross said his caucus would be willing to consider voting for borrowing, but not without some concessions.

“We’ll look at it to pay our vendors, but we’re going to look at it a different way. It might be a smaller amount, we might say you’ve got to cut somewhere else, we might say you have to look at (workers’ compensation), I don’t know what else we might say,” Cross said.

For her part, Topinka has not decided one way or another on the borrowing plan.

“It will help to some extent, in terms of paying the bills. I still want to look at that before we sign off on it and see exactly where it goes. I want to read that bill and see exactly what it does. I’ve signed off on borrowing when I was (state) treasure, but not all the time,” she said.

If Republicans want concessions, I have one in mind: Make Illinois a right to work state, killing all prevailing wage laws along with it.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock
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