Illinois sees hint of hope as unpaid vendor debt dips slightly
Illinois' unpaid vendor debt fell slightly as the fall season got underway, according to the state comptroller's website.
While still well above the $15 million mark -- at $15.6 million as of publication -- the debt did represent a decline from the record high of more than $16 billion in early September.
The Illinois Homepage website also reported that Gov. Bruce Rauner has signed off on allowign the state to borrow money at a lower interest rate, and credit ratings services S&P and Moody’s have backed off on threats to downgrade the state’s already poor credit rating to junk bond status.
The state also recently moved to sell up to $6 billion in bonds, which would represent its largest single-offering sale in nearly 15 years.
Still, the Zero Hedge website reports that the state’s five largest publicly supported pensions remain funded at just 37.6 percent and are $130 billion underwater, collectively.
In the two years before Illinois’ $36.1 billion budget was enacted and the state operated without a budget, debt tripled from approximately $5 billion.
Even with the new budget in place, the comptroller’s office says the taxpayer burden continues to grow by an estimated $2 million a day in late payment interest penalties.
In pushing Rauner to move quickly, Comptroller Susana Mendoza stressed that the cash-strapped state can ill-afford any additional debt and that thousands of service providers and businesses are still awaiting large-scale payments.
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