State Comptroller outlines plan for paying bills during budget impasse

SPRINGFIELD — Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger on Thursday outlined her plan for paying the state’s bills during the budget impasse as she entered the new fiscal year without appropriation authority.

In an effort to comply with federal labor laws, Munger is asking the Attorney General’s Office to seek an Agreed Order from the courts that would allow the Comptroller’s Office to continue paying state employees during the impasse.

The Attorney General entered a similar Agreed Order on behalf of Comptroller Dan Hynes in 2007 that allowed state employees to be paid when the state entered the new fiscal year without a budget agreement.

Munger announced that due to legislation passed by the General Assembly last year that made state legislative and judicial salaries “continuing appropriations,” state legislators and judges are the only state employees who will continue to be paid during the budget impasse, unless the court acts.

The Comptroller will be able to continue making payments authorized under the previous fiscal year that ended June 30. She will also be able to make new payments classified as “continuing appropriations” and under court orders, including the following payments: debt, pension, retiree benefits, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, Assistance for the Aged, Blind and Disabled, and most local government payments.

However, when the FY15 bills are paid, she will not have appropriation authority to pay most new bills incurred in the new fiscal year after July 1. Ramifications include:

• Nonprofits and small employers will be unable to receive expedited payments
• State employees will start missing paychecks July 15
• New payments to state vendors will stop

Munger stressed the Comptroller’s Office will continue to operate without interruption throughout the budget impasse to process all payments allowed under law. Her office has established a Budget Hotline – 855-IL-ASK-US – and she encouraged state vendors to call it with questions about their payments.