Gov. Pat Quinn has announced that the state’s backlog of bills has fallen from a high of $9.9 billion in 2010 to $3.9 billion as of June 30, the lowest point since the governor took office.
Five years ago, Illinois was home to the worst pension crisis in America and the state’s backlog of bills was on its way to more than $9 billion. Since taking office, Quinn has cut state spending by more than $5.7 billion.
“Making the tough decisions has moved Illinois forward,” Quinn said. “Today Illinois is in a stronger financial position than we were five years ago and we have more work to do to continue moving our finances in the right direction.”
The backlog of bills is now closer to the typical private industry 30-day billing standard – about $2.2 billion in Illinois’ case – and is a result of the governor’s willingness to overhaul Medicaid, reform worker’s compensation and unemployment insurance systems and implement major efficiencies such as closing and consolidating more than 50 state facilities.
In March, Quinn submitted a balanced budget plan that continued paying down the state’s bills, protected education and public safety and secured Illinois’ long-term financial future, but legislators instead postponed the tough budget decisions.
Quinn recently cut Illinois’ fiscal year 2015 state budget, zeroing out $250 million for renovations of the state Capitol. In addition, as part of his ongoing budget review, the governor directed state agencies to identify additional efficiencies, including selling nearly half of the state’s aircraft.
Quinn also directed state agencies to cut 80 paid parking spaces for state employees in downtown garages – more than 30 percent of the total spots reserved. The move will save taxpayers more than $100,000 annually. He also again reduced lease costs for government buildings that will save taxpayers an additional $55 million this year.
Quinn’s budget cuts over the past five years include shrinking the state payroll from 54,000 to 50,000 – the third-lowest number of state government employees per capita in the entire country, according to Governing Magazine.
For more information, visit http://www2.illinois.gov/gov/budget/Documents/Bill_Backlog_Presentation_7.14.14.pdf.