100 Days Without a Budget Means State's Backlog Continues to Grow

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CHAMPAIGN--Illinois has been without a budget for 100 days and the state comptroller was in Champaign Thursday to warn of what could happen if one is not passed soon.

According to the Leslie Munger, Illinois is writing checks without the money to cash them.

"A few weeks ago, I looked and we had $120 million in the bank. Well, we, that morning, had processed $130 million in payments for retirement benefits and a $100 million debt payment, said Munger.

Yet, the backlog in unpaid bills is still almost $7 billion, and could reach $8.5 billion on by the end of the year without a state budget. That's not counting the 10 percent of services that are already cut off from funding that usually receive around $4 billion annually.

"We're actually looking at looking at being somewhere around $12-$13 billion behind in our payments," said Munger.

Munger says even a temporary income tax increase isn't enough to do the trick. She estimates it would have to be raised to seven percent to get Illinois out of the hole. That's three percentage points higher than the current rate, and two points more than the last tax hike of its kind.

"For a family that earns $50,000 a year, [that] means an additional $1500 spent in taxes just in going to fund this ever growing government that we have," said Munger.

So she's calling on that government to get to work.

"A balanced budget is the first step in that rebuilding process," said Munger. "And time is of the essence because every day we wait, our problems get worse."

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