Backlog falls to $9.5 billion after Comptroller uses $6.48 billion in bond proceeds to cut into state’s $16.7 billion backlog of unpaid bills
CARBONDALE – As she works to pay down the state’s backlog of unpaid bills, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza has begun a revamp of her office’s website, illinoiscomptroller.gov, to better show taxpayers where their money is being spent.
The backlog fell from $16.7 billion last Tuesday to $9.5 billion by the close of business Monday. Our office paid out the entire $6.48 billion proceeds from the state's bond issuance, along with more than $1 billion in federal reimbursements from the payment of medical bills.
In weeks to come, our office expects further federal matching funds, bringing the expected final total to nearly $9 billion.
Since Wednesday, the Office of the Comptroller has released more than $3.5 billion in medical vouchers, which are eligible for federal reimbursements. Almost $4 billion has gone toward state health insurance claims owed to medical providers. State taxpayers were accruing 9-12 percent interest on many of those bills. Reducing the interest payments to the 3.5 percent rate the state got on its bonds will save taxpayers billions of dollars over the life of the bonds.
The backlog more than tripled from about $5 billion to almost $16.7 billion in the past two-and-a-half years, including two years in which Governor Bruce V. Rauner failed to present a balanced budget and the state went without a budget. Taxpayers, legislators and the media can track daily updates on those payments on the Backlog Voucher Report (BVR) on the comptroller's website.
Last week, the state finalized the issuance of $6 billion in bonds but received $6.48 billion in bond proceeds, including a net $480 million premium from the sale, an indicator of the strong market demand for the bonds.
On the same day the state received the bond proceeds, the Illinois Senate overrode Rauner’s veto of the Debt Transparency Act on a 52-3 vote, following the House of Representatives' 112-0 override two weeks earlier. The law, which takes effect Jan. 1, requires monthly and more detailed reports from state agencies under the Governor on how many unpaid state bills they are accumulating. That information will also be shared on the comptroller's website.