Posted by Greg H. at 10/4/2010 5:31 PM CDT on Chicago Business
Even as voters prepare to elect a new governor and General Assembly, Illinois' fiscal condition continues to worsen.
According to Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes, the backlog of unpaid bills encumbered in fiscal 2010 and previous years stood at $6.4 billion as of Sept. 30 -- just under a quarter of what the state spends in its general, or operating funds, each year.
All of that will have to be paid out of the budget of fiscal 2011, which began on July 1, as will $3.5 billion in new bills, Mr. Hynes said.
Even worse, the amount of old bills continues to rise, with the amount of payables in the comptroller's office now at $5.5 billion, nearly double the $2.9 billion at the same date last year.
The one ray of light: Income taxes have begun to rise a little, with the corporate levy yielding 10% more in the first quarter and the individual income tax 1.5%, after adjusting for inter-fund transfers.
But sales tax receipts still are dead flat, declining $1 million in the first quarter, or 0.1%.
"Barring any major changes," Mr. Hynes said in his quarterly report, "cash flow difficulties will continue throughout the remainder of fiscal 2011." Combined with other shortfalls in state accounts -- including failure to appropriate anything for pensions this year -- incoming state leaders "will face a working deficit of $15 billion or more," Mr. Hynes said.
Depressing. To put it mildly.