YEAR IN REVIEW: TOP 10 ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF THE OFFICE OF THE COMPTROLLER
SPRINGFIELD, IL — Hard to top that first year in office but…
1) Passed Truth in Hiring Act, stopping Illinois governors “offshoring” employees to other state agency budgets. In this year’s budget, only 47 of Governor?Rauner’s?110 staffers are actually paid from the Governor’s budget. MOST of his?staff – 63 people – are “offshored” to other agency payrolls, masking the true cost of the budget for his office. The new law requires that all employees working in the Governor’s office be paid from the Governor’s payroll starting next fiscal year.
2) Passed Budgeting for Interest Payments Act, requiring governors to present their plans to pay down the state’s late payment interest penalties. Up to now, governors have ignored these liabilities –which total $500 million -- in their budget proposals.
3) Passed legislation to boost women-owned and minority-owned businesses. This new law requires?Constitutional officers such as the Governor, Secretary of State and Comptroller to aspire to the same 20 percent goal state agencies have for awarding contracts to businesses owned by women, minorities and people with disabilities in accordance with provisions of the Business Enterprise for Minorities, Women, and Persons with Disabilities Act.??
4) Opened a window on the more than $5 billion Vendor Payment Program, making information on lenders who profit from the state’s chronically late payments public. The state pays up to 12 percent interest on late bills. Lenders in VPP profit from that. These lenders serve an important role in allowing Illinois businesses to survive by fronting them money until the state pays them. But until Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza’s bill passed, taxpayers had little information about who makes up these lending groups; where their financing comes from; and who is profiting from Illinois’?financial dysfunction.?
5) Issued a year’s worth of monthly Debt Transparency Reports, offering a new level of transparency on the state’s unpaid bills. The first of the Debt Transparency reports was published in January. These reports provide a monthly, up-to-date snapshot of Illinois’ unpaid bills, both in the Comptroller’s office and at state agencies, for the first time in the state’s history. The current fiscal year’s consensus budget was the first budget passed in which legislators had up-to-date information, thanks to the DTA reports.
6) Updated the office’s website, making it more accessible for policymakers, taxpayers and those who do business with the State. The redesign made the Comptroller’s website easier to navigate and increased transparency by making it simpler for users to find fiscal information and for state agencies to submit information.
7) Recovered $40 million owed to local governments around the state. Assisted in recovering $40 million in outstanding debt for 400 local governments around Illinois.
8) For the second year in a row, kept the office budget 10 percent lower than the previous administration. The Comptroller’s budget is the lowest it has been in 20 years, returning $1 million to the state treasury.
9) Advocated for payment of back wages to state workers and issued payments. Comptroller Mendoza implemented cash management strategies to ensure that back wages, which the state had failed to pay for years, were issued to workers quickly after they were processed by state agencies. Comptroller Mendoza continues to push for the Rauner administration to pay employees the step wage increases that are still owed.
10) Helped officials in Adams County shape a humane indigent burial policy. Following reports that the former Adams County Coroner was refusing to release remains and death certificates to families who couldn’t afford to pay for a funeral and burial, Comptroller Mendoza denounced the policy and worked to raise awareness about state reimbursements to cover burial and funeral costs for those who can’t afford them. The Comptroller’s office provided information to local advocates and County Board members, who voted to put an appropriate policy in place.
You can download a PDF of this release here.