Illinois State Comptroller

Illinois Comptroller: State’s Unpaid Bill Backlog To Exceed $10 Billion By Year End

I’ve been following the State of Illinois’ unpaid bill backlog for some time now, and what State Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger shared yesterday should be of serious concern to Illinoisans. From her website:

CHICAGO- Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on Thursday said the state’s bill backlog will grow throughout the fall and Illinois will enter the New Year with approximately $10 billion in unpaid invoices, resulting in payment delays of at least six months.

The announcement follows last month’s passage of a stopgap budget, which authorized payments that were being delayed due to the state’s year-long budget impasse.

“While the stopgap is a positive step forward, it does not address our larger fiscal challenges. When we look at the numbers we are facing, the realities are sobering,” said Munger, noting the state is on pace to spend $2.5 billion more than it takes in the next six months. “Those severe cash shortages mean my office will continue to perform triage to help those most in need and protect our most critical services.”

“The realities are sobering”

Indeed.

And I’m certain they will eventually result in- wait for it- higher/new fees, fines, and taxes in conjunction with reduced government services for Illinois residents.

There’s the real possibility of a big tax increase coming soon for Illinoisans. Consider the following from investment specialist and Illinois State Representative David McSweeney (R-Barrington Hills) on the website of the non-partisan, independent Reboot Illinois project on July 11:

The recent passage of a six-month unbalanced spending measure will worsen Illinois’ financial problems and likely lead to a massive tax increase.

The approval of a stopgap measure is nothing more than a continuation of the status quo that has made Illinois insolvent. The stopgap bill is a spending plan, not a real balanced budget. Consider this: About 91 percent of state government spending was on autopilot during the budget stalemate. The state has been spending money at levels that are higher than authorized during Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. Spending continues to be out of control

With the adoption of the stopgap measure, we are ensuring the state’s financial problems will not be addressed anytime soon. Ultimately, we are guaranteeing that the state’s financial health will get much worse, which will make it easier for a tax increase to build momentum in Springfield

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

You can read that entire news release from the Illinois Comptroller on her website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

McSweeney, David. “Stopgap Budget Will Likely Result In A Massive Tax Hike.” RebootIllinois.com. 11 July 2016. (http://www.rebootillinois.com/2016/07/11/editors-picks/dmcsweeney/stopgap-budget-will-likely-result-in-a-massive-tax-hike/61341/). 15 July 2016.

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Friday, July 15th, 2016 Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Spending, Taxes Comments Off on Illinois Comptroller: State’s Unpaid Bill Backlog To Exceed $10 Billion By Year End

State Of Illinois Deficit Grew By $49 Million Over Last Fiscal Year

The deficit for the State of Illinois is approaching $45 billion. And tucked inside a news release on Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s website yesterday was the following which showed the deficit widened over the last fiscal year. From “Topinka announces earliest state financial report release since 2006”:

The State of Illinois’ net position was reported as a deficit of $44.799 billion as of June 30, 2013. That represents a $49 million decrease in net position compared to the deficit of $44.750 billion at June 30, 2012. The State’s assets increased $3.762 billion from the prior year, offset by an increase in liabilities of $3.811 billion. The increases in liabilities resulted mainly from increases in the State’s net pension obligation of $1.720 billion and net other postemployment benefit obligations of $1.753 billion

You can read the entire news release on the State of Illinois Comptroller’s website here.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Thursday, March 13th, 2014 Debt Crisis, Deficits, Entitlements, Government, Retirement Comments Off on State Of Illinois Deficit Grew By $49 Million Over Last Fiscal Year

State Of Illinois Unpaid Bills Could Reach $9 Billion By End Of December

More bad news for the State of Illinois on the financial front.

In January 2011, the state government was on the hook for an estimated $8 billion in unpaid bills. That month, massive personal and corporate income tax hikes went into effect in the “Land of Lincoln.”

This morning, I read that the backlog is now approaching $9 billion.

Doug Finke reported on The State Journal-Register (Springfield, Illinois) website Sunday:

According to Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s office… payment delays are once again getting longer. The backlog of bills waiting to be paid in the comptroller’s office has grown by $3 billion since the spring, when the state was flush with tax revenue…

[Topinka spokesman Brad] Hahn said the office believes the total will hit $9 billion by the end of December, exactly where Topinka predicted it would be last summer. It is the second year in a row the backlog will sit at about $9 billion at the end of the calendar year.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Any other Illinois readers starting to think those January 2011 “temporary” tax hikes won’t be so temporary after all?

I blogged back on January 13, 2011:

The legislation that was pushed through by Democratic lawmakers, who have controlled Illinois state government since 2003, hikes the 3 percent personal income tax rate to 5 percent until 2015, when the rate is supposed to drop to 3.75 percent. However, the last time income tax rates in the “Land of Lincoln” went up in 1989, politicians also claimed it was as a temporary increase to combat a financial “rough patch.” But the rates never came down and by 1993 were designated permanent. Until now, that is.

In an attempt to gain more support among Democrats (no Republicans in the Illinois House or Senate backed the legislation), the measure calls for lowering the personal income tax rate in 2025 to 3.25 percent.

For businesses, the 4.8 percent corporate income tax jumps to 7 percent until 2015, when it would drop to 5.25 percent. In 2025, the corporate rate is then supposed to fall back down to 4.8 percent.

If those “temporary” tax hikes in Illinois are indeed repealed in 2015, look for the State of Illinois to find some other way(s) to make up for that lost revenue.

Source:

Finke, Doug. “Bill backlog growing again and so are payment delays.” The State Journal-Register. 24 Nov. 2013. (http://www.sj-r.com/top-stories/x450320106/Bill-backlog-growing-again-and-so-are-payment-delays?zc_p=0). 25 Nov. 2013.

By Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Monday, November 25th, 2013 Debt Crisis, Fiscal Policy, Government, Political Parties, Taxes Comments Off on State Of Illinois Unpaid Bills Could Reach $9 Billion By End Of December

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s New Warehouse Tool Sheds Light On Local Government Fiscal Health

It’s been some time since I talked about Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on this blog. The last time I mentioned her name was back on April 3, 2012, when I blogged about a new Internet tool- The Ledger– that Illinoisans now had available to keep a closer eye on state finances.

Joining the comprehensive online financial database this week is The Warehouse, which lets state residents scrutinize local government finances.

From the Comptroller’s website Monday:

CHICAGO – Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on Monday launched The Warehouse, a comprehensive online database that puts Local Government financial information and tens of thousands of records at a single location for taxpayer review.

Each year, the Comptroller’s Office collects financial reports from 5,200 counties, municipalities and special taxing districts across the state. In creating The Warehouse, Topinka has made those records and other pertinent local financial information collected by her office immediately available to residents…

Warehouse visitors are able to search records by report type, unit of government or community name. Once a local government is selected, users will be taken to a landing page where they can view a snapshot of local finances, Annual Financial Reports and Audits. The site also offers a “compare data” feature allowing visitors to see how one government stacks up against another.

I took this new database for a spin last night. You can search by “Report Type” or “Unit Type” along the left sidebar, or enter keywords in a query area at the top of the right sidebar.

All seemed to be working well, until I punched in “Cook County” in the search query. This is the message I got:

Sorry, there is no current documentation required for Cook County. No data is available.

Hmmm. I noticed DuPage and Lake Counties come up fine, so I’m not sure what the deal is here.

I can see The Warehouse being a good tool for researchers and those wanting to check on the fiscal health of the towns and other jurisdictions they reside in, I can also envision prospective homebuyers and renters using it as well should they choose to look into the financial situation of the place they’re considering moving to.

The Warehouse has it’s own web page, which can be accessed here.

And you read the rest of that release from the Comptroller’s site here.

By Christopher E. Hill, Editor
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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Tuesday, October 29th, 2013 Fiscal Policy, Government, Main Street, Spending Comments Off on Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s New Warehouse Tool Sheds Light On Local Government Fiscal Health

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s New Ledger Tool Sheds Light On State’s Fiscal Health

Being the chief fiscal officer in Illinois right now is like being one of your obituary writers at the newspaper, because I’ve only got bad news to report all the time. But this is really good news.

-Illinois State Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, in a Chicago Tribune piece earlier today

Illinois residents now have a new tool on the Internet to keep a closer eye on their state’s finances. And from the looks of things, it’s something they should do often. From the website of the Illinois Office of the Comptroller:

TOPINKA OPENS THE LEDGER FOR TAXPAYER INSPECTION

Initiative delivers unprecedented fiscal information

Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka on Monday unveiled The Ledger, a comprehensive online financial database that sets a new standard for transparency. In fact, the site provides taxpayers with the same up-to-date numbers and information that is used by Topinka’s office in carrying out its Constitutional duties.

Launched Monday, The Ledger allows taxpayers to click their way through everything from the state’s daily receipts and bill backlog numbers to state agency budgets and expenses. The site also provides a state employee database, allowing taxpayers to view all public salaries and recent additions to Illinois’ payroll.

Deciding to give The Ledger a whirl, I headed over to “Fiscal Condition” in the left sidebar, and selected “GAAP Fund Balance.” Here’s what the website said:

GAAP Fund Balance

When measured in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), the General Fund balance is a good indicator of the state’s overall fiscal health. The General Fund is the state’s basic operating fund, and it finances at least a portion of the operating budgets of every major agency. In addition, the General Fund includes the three school accounts and the General Revenue Fund account that administer nearly 40% of the state’s annual expenditures. A review of the history of the fund balance of the General Fund provides a good indication of the state’s overall fiscal health.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

And here’s the state’s GAAP information, from 2000 on:

GAAP Fund Balance History ($ in millions)

General Fund Balance (Deficit)

GAAP Basis

FY 2000 ($572)
FY 2001 ($1,365)
FY 2002 ($2,948)
FY 2003* ($4,181)
FY 2004* ($2,546)
FY 2005* ($3,299)
FY 2006* ($2,970)
FY 2007* ($4,171)
FY 2008* ($4,035)
FY 2009* ($7,682)
FY 2010 ($9,239)

* As restated.

FY 2010 ($9,239).” I think I’ve seen enough for now.

The Ledger can be found on the Illinois Comptroller’s website here.

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Tuesday, April 3rd, 2012 Debt Crisis, Deficits, Fiscal Policy, Government, Spending Comments Off on Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka’s New Ledger Tool Sheds Light On State’s Fiscal Health
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