Illinois Budget Mess Deepens: Using 2011 Funds to Pay 2010 Bills

-By Warner Todd Huston

From The Bond Buyer, a website that tracks news on the bond market we see that the president’s home state is in an ever deeper budget hole every day.

In a stark illustration of Illinois’ deteriorating balance sheet, the state ended the first quarter of fiscal 2011 with $5.5 billion in overdue bills and faces a possible structural deficit of at least $15 billion in the next fiscal year if no action is taken, Comptroller Dan Hynes warned in his quarterly report.

The state closed out fiscal 2010 on June 30 owing $4.7 billion in bills. Another $1.7 billion of bills incurred in fiscal 2010 were submitted by an Aug. 30 deadline to bring the total level of fiscal 2010 bills to $6.4 billion. That figure represents 23% of fiscal 2010 general fund revenue.

Worse, the state is robbing Peter to pay Paul by taking money from the 2011 budget to pay 2010 bills. The state of Illinois is in fiscal meltdown and instead of cutting cost they are simply stealing money from future budgets to pay today’s bills. Worse, there really IS no future budget because the state has failed to pass one. The Democrat led state legislature in Springfield spent most of this legislative year completely unable to pass a state budget. It wasn’t until the post Summer break that they were able to garner enough votes to pass an emergency budget. SB3660 was passed as an emergency measure but the legislature has still not passed a full budget as it is legally bound to do.

Meanwhile bills pile up and go unpaid and services across the state are being systematically shut down over unpaid vendors. As State Comptroller Dan Hines reports, by the end of fiscal 2010 the state will have $5.1 billion in unpaid bills. Additionally there is another $2.25 billion in short-term loans that must be repaid. There are other obligations unpaid as well.

The State of California is faced with similar problems. In September, California and Illinois were ranked as the number one and number two worst budget crises in the country.

See the report for specifics:

(H/T News Alert)

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