State debt surpasses $7.8 billion, ending downward streak
Illinois’ unpaid vendor debt shot up to more than $7.79 billion the week ending July 19, topping last week’s debt load by more than $1 billion and ending a streak of overall debt falling under $7 billion.
The backlog of vouchers, which includes vouchers and transfers to other state funds, ended the week at 65,600, according to the Illinois Comptroller’s website.
Even with last week's uptick bringing the total to $7,791,045,253.16, overall debt is still less than half of what it was for most of last year after swelling to as much as $16 billion during a two-year period commencing in 2015 when the state operated without a balanced budget.
The downward trend can be directly traced to Gov. Bruce Rauner moving in 2017 to issue $6 billion worth of general obligation bonds, all of which were applied to the state’s debt after it had spiraled to record-high levels.
More recently, State Comptroller Susana Mendoza launched the so-called Debt Transparency Act, which she insists is aimed at keeping taxpayers abreast of the state’s outstanding debt levels by requiring that state agencies report monthly liabilities in a manner outlined by the comptroller’s office.