Wednesday, March 30, 2022
SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza has paid back the final $297 million in short-term borrowing from 15 state funds needed to recover from the 2015-2017 budget impasse.
In August 2017, when the Illinois Office of Comptroller first used the interfund borrowing tool authorized by the General Assembly, Illinois’ bill backlog was more than $14 billion. Between then and January 2020, $2.3 billion was borrowed from various state funds and through the State Treasurer's Office so that essential payments could be made for medical bills and social and human services.
With stronger-than-anticipated Fiscal Year 2022 revenues through March, this final payment is months earlier than the plan enacted by the legislature and Governor to repay the funds in full by June 30.
“Not only did we pay off our short-term debts, but we paid them off early,” Comptroller Mendoza said. “This highlights the progress Illinois is making in achieving fiscal responsibility. This week, I will inform the credit rating agencies of the good news of this final repayment of state borrowing.”
The payoff is in addition to the $3.9 billion borrowed from the federal government, and already repaid, for state obligations during the COVID-19 pandemic. The $2 billion paid in full in January to the Federal Reserve’s Municipal Liquidity Facility was repaid nearly two years early, which is expected to save taxpayers $82 million.
The bill backlog is now “accounts payable”
Now that Illinois has been paying its bills in about 15 business days since July 1, 2021, a more accurate description of the State’s pending liabilities should be used.
“With the state’s excellent progress in paying down our bills from the record $16.7 billion backlog caused by a reckless and irresponsible budget impasse, the Illinois Office of Comptroller is retiring the ‘backlog’ term and instituting ‘accounts payable,’ since we are well within 30 days of paying our state vendors and providers,” said Comptroller Mendoza.
The snapshot of pending bills as of Tuesday morning represents liabilities that are not “backlogged,” but rather reflects the ongoing processing of bills which averages around $2.5 billion each month. This is especially true of statutory fund deposits, known as transfers, that make up $2 billion of the State’s current $3 billion of pending liabilities. Those transfers will be made by the IOC as the need arises for each respective state fund. Thus, it is more accurate to refer to these standing transfers as “accounts payable.”