Crossing the line separating Indiana and Illinois sometimes means dealing with different laws and customs. Readers are asked to share ideas for this weekly feature. This week: Unpaid bills.
Illinois is set to spend $6 billion to $8 billion more than the $31.8 billion in revenue it expects to take in this budget year.
Nevertheless, the state still will appear to comply with its constitutional balanced budget mandate, because Illinois routinely is slow to pay its bills.
How slow? As of Sept. 15, social services agencies and other vendors were waiting on some $8.7 billion in late payments from the state, according to Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger.
Adding that to the deficit expected to accumulate during the budget year, which ends June 30, 2017, produces an Illinois bill backlog totaling $14 billion, according to Moody’s Investors Service, or as much as $16.9 billion, according to the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.
In comparison, Indiana spends about $15 billion from its general fund each year for all state services, including education.
Indiana also has $2.1 billion in a budget reserve fund in case state revenue ever fails to cover planned spending.