Comptroller: Illinois taxpayers on the hook for billions in unpaid bills

SPRINGFIELD — The state can’t go bankrupt, but taxpayers who stay in Illinois will have to pay for the fiscal mess which, when combining the backlog of bills with the projected deficit, is more than $13 billion.

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says if the state had a credit card it would have already blown through its credit limit.
“The bottom line is that the state cannot go bankrupt and that we cannot print money. Taxpayers are going to have to pay this bill.”

(Credit: Vepar5)
(Credit: Vepar5)

Steve Brown, spokesman for Speaker Michael Madigan, says lawmakers already passed a budget … in May of last year.
“The result of the growth in unpaid bills is a function of the bungled decision to veto the budget that was passed by the General Assembly.”

Governor Bruce Rauner vetoed most of that budget saying it was unbalanced to the tune of more than $4 billion. The state is now more than seven months into the fiscal year with no budget in place.

Meanwhile imagine you have $100 in the checkbook and then realizing you have $7,000 in bills. Now multiply that by one million. That’s how the comptroller explained Illinois’ cash crunch now seven full months into the fiscal year without a budget.

And taxes alone isn’t the solution. Munger says if a tax increase was the only fix, the income tax would have to be double — putting it close to 8 percent for individuals, something not many people would tolerate.

“I don’t know any legislator who would vote for that and I don’t know many businesses that would stay in Illinois for that. And so as a result we must look at some reforms, some that will help our businesses be more competitive so they can absorb some increase in taxes.”

Munger says there needs to be efficiencies found in every corner of government and lawmakers need to get together, stop blaming each other and find solutions.