Posted tagged ‘State Sen. John Sullivan’

Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka Offers No Alternative Gov. Pat Quinn’s Plan to Pay Illinois’ Delinquent Bills

May 27, 2011

(Springfield, IL) — May 27, 2011. For the upcoming year, Illinois lawmakers are weighing whether to pay bills with borrowed money or not pay businesses and local government money the state owes them.

However, if the state borrows the $6.2 billion for its bills, Illinois may have another mountain of debt in a few years.

Democrats are pushing the plan to borrow $6.2 billion in order to pay some of Illinois’ $8.2 billion in past-due bills.

Republicans say lawmakers have to stop borrowing and start cutting spending if Illinois is ever going to pay its bills and live within its means.

Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, who actually writes the checks for the state’s bills, said spending money now is not the solution.

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Treasurer Dan Rutherford’s Opposition to Legislative Efforts to Pay State Bills to Hospitals, Schools, Vendors Draws Criticism

May 24, 2011

(Springfield, IL) — Illinois’ treasurer cannot stop lawmakers from borrowing billions to pay the state’s backlog of unpaid bills, but he can make it more expensive — and that’s exactly what Dan Rutherford says  he plans to do.

Rutherford on Monday said he cannot support adding to Illinois burgeoning debt.

The first-term Republican treasurer released his own report that states Illinois total debt would cost every household in the state $42,000. Rutherford arrived at the number by adding Illinois’ $140 billion in unfunded pension and health-care liabilities, the state’s $45 billion bond debt, and the nearly $8 billion in unpaid bills.

The treasurer said lawmakers must cut spending and live within their means in order for Illinois to pay off the debt.

“You can’t borrow anymore money,” said Rutherford. “And if I need to send letters to the rating companies to tell them the treasurer of Illinois is opposed to any more borrowing, I’ll go ahead and do that.”

Rutherford said alerting national rating agencies and bond houses could make it more expensive for Illinois to borrow. He said hopes that step would give lawmakers pause before asking for a billion dollars.

And while the state’s treasurer can only stop short-term borrowing, lawmakers are maneuvering to pass a measure through the General Assembly that would bypass any authority Rutherford has.

“I don’t have a vote on (the Senate plan),” said Rutherford. “If it’s long term, I can’t stop it.”

State Sen. John Sullivan, D-Rushville, said Republican and Democratic lawmakers must approve any borrowing, and Rutherford’s approach to handling Illinois’ massive pile of unpaid bills bothers him.

“Right now we’re using school districts, universities, private companies and health-care providers — we’re using them as our credit card,” said Sullivan. “They’re carrying that debt for us.”
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As Illinois Budget Votes Loom in State Senate, GOP, Dem Lawmakers Spar

May 2, 2011

(Springfield, IL) – May 2, 2011. As Illinois’ budget deadline approaches, the Illinois Senate could be the next fiscal battleground.

Fresh off of a two-week break, Illinois state senators on Monday returned to the Capitol to iron out the final details of a $30-billion-plus state spending plan.

“We’re going to pass a budget, and it will be a balanced budget,” said state Sen. William Haine, D-Alton, who added that he is confident the Senate would be done by the end of next week.

Exactly how to divide the state’s dollars, however, is in dispute.

State Sen. Dave Syverson, R-Rockford, wants to see an agreement between the House and Senate that sets a price tag before lawmakers start spending.

“It is unfair to human service providers, state employees, universities to have both chambers pass a budget that is totally different and have each of them thinking that one or the other is going to be the realistic number,” Syverson said.

The House is working with a $33.2 billion budget, while the Senate is working with a $34.3 billion plan. Both estimates are less than the $35.4 billion figure that Gov. Pat Quinn said he wants to spend next year.

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