State's vendor debt holding steady at $8.5 billion
The state’s unpaid vendor debt load largely remained steady during the week ending Feb. 28, closing at $8,520,183,376.48.
According to the Illinois comptroller’s website, that's slightly more than a $50 million dip from the week before, which ended with unpaid bills at $8,572,304,572.
The state's mound of unpaid debt has dwindled to just roughly half of where it was for most of 2017, a time when it regularly swelled to record highs easily topping $16 billion.
The downward trend kicked into high gear just before the start of 2018, fueled by Gov. Bruce Rauner’s announcement that he planned to issue $6 billion worth of general obligation bonds that were to be solely used to apply toward the state’s runaway deficits.
More recently, Rauner, who is being challenged by Rep. Jeanne Ives in the March 20 Republican primary, kicked off negotiations for the next fiscal budget by calling for an end to what he deemed “wasteful spending.”
Illinois’ overall debt load hit record highs during a two-year period when the state operated without a balanced budget in place, more than tripling its one-time tab of just $5 billion.
In her first monthly debt transparency report released in January, Comptroller Susana Mendoza said the state was hit with more than $1.03 billion in late payments during 2017. The debt transparency act went into effect on Jan. 1 and is aimed at keeping state legislators and residents abreast of the state’s financial standing.