Illinois bill backlog could triple to nearly $22 billion

Crain’s Detroit Business

Illinois’ pile of overdue bills could nearly triple to $21.7 billion in five years unless the state takes action to curb its public pension costs, a financial watchdog group reported on Monday.

“Lawmakers need to adopt a long-term mindset and restructure the unaffordable pension systems that are keeping the state in its fiscal downspin,” Lawrence Msall, president of the Chicago-based Civic Federation, said in a statement.

The group’s report said the amount of unpaid bills would be down from the nearly $35 billion it previously projected the state would face by fiscal 2017, largely due to cuts Illinois made last year to Medicaid, the health care program for the poor. But the $21.7 billion in outstanding bills owed to vendors, social service providers, hospitals and others in fiscal 2018 would be 2.8 times the $7.8 billion in forecast bills in fiscal 2013, which ends on June 30.

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