The State’s backlog of unpaid bills has fallen into a 30-day payment cycle.
Comptroller Susana Mendoza’s Office reports today that the state’s balance has fallen to $3.5 billion after being at a high of $16.7 billion in January 2017. Mendoza says that the oldest commercial vouchers owed to most vendors and providers of goods and services in her office right now are dated from Monday. She says it’s the first time in several years that the state has final caught up to a manageable cycle of bill payment.
The Debt Transparency Act, resulting in monthly Debt Transparency Reports from state agencies, was an initiative that Mendoza pushed in 2017 after assuming office. Mendoza says it has eliminated costly surprises and has allowed for more effective management of the state’s checkbook.
Mendoza also attributes the fall in debt to steady revenue receipts, even during the pandemic because she says most people kept their income tax filing date last year as April 15th despite an extension into May.
Mendoza says the state’s fiscal challenges aren’t completely fixed. She says Illinois must craft a balanced state budget for the upcoming year without depending on the one-time federal relief money the state received this past year for Covid-related expenses and lack of revenue.
Mendoza has asked bond ratings agencies to consider this news when evaluating Illinois’ credit worthiness.