Friday, January 08, 2010

State gets some cash to pay late bills

The state got an infusion of cash from a borrowing deal that could soon go toward its backlog of unpaid bills.

In a move approved by the legislature in July, Illinois sold $3.4 billion in bonds Thursday to pay off the state’s pension obligation. The money will cover the state’s contribution for the rest of the fiscal year, so the payments the state has been making in anticipation of the loan will now be returned to its coffers.

$843 million will be used to pay down part of Illinois’ overdue bills, which Comptroller Dan Hynes said Wednesday total $5.1 billion. Hynes said an additional $1.4 billion in health care bills have not yet reached his desk.

David Vaught, director of Gov. Pat Quinn's Office of Management and Budget, said while Quinn can make suggestions about where the money goes, Hynes has the final authority to distribute it. When asked how soon the money might start going out, Vaught said, “I think it will be pretty immediate.”

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