Comptroller Susana Mendoza

Flickr user Daniel Borman / "Money, Money, Money" (CC BY 2.0)

Illinois is nearing the start of a third fiscal year without a budget. This has resulted in a backlog of unpaid bills, and unfavorable judgment by credit agencies.

 

As of last week, the state owes an outstanding $14.5 billion, and only $18 million is available to make payments.  State Comptroller Susana Mendoza said a court case asking healthcare organizations to be paid first may push the state to the breaking point.  

A court hearing scheduled Tuesday has the potential to shake up the precarious financial situation in Illinois. Organizations that run the state’s Medicaid program want a federal judge to speed up their payments.

The state already owes money to  a variety of organizations due to the budget impasse, but Medicaid providers want a federal judge to put them at the front of the line. Comptroller Susana Mendoza said Illinois already spends heavily on Medicaid, and letting those groups cut in line means Illinois would soon run out of money.

  Last summer, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner signed a last-minute plan to appropriate state money to public schools. It allowed districts to open on time, but the actual funds for programs such as special education and busing have been slow in coming.

State Comptroller Susana Mendoza is in charge of disbursing the money but says she can't due to lack of cash on hand.

“As of today," she said, "I think our actual cash flow -- our available balance -- might be actually 159 million dollars."

Increased revenues coming in to state coffers during tax season have allowed the Illinois Comptroller to release more than $800 million in payments for health care services.

Comptroller Susana Mendoza said Wednesday that the money will go to nearly a dozen managed-care operations in Illinois serving Medicaid patients, according to the State Journal-Register.  Those organizations can use the money to pay doctors, hospitals and mental-health counselors.

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Some Illinois lawmakers who had their paychecks delayed by 9 months are expressing relief they’ll finally get their salaries.

There was a popular slogan during last year’s campaign for Comptroller.

No budget, no pay.

The former Republican comptroller said with no budget, lawmakers’ paychecks will be delayed - just like payments for other critical government services.

WELCH: This was pure coercion, plain and simple.

State Representative Chris Welch and 5 other Democrats sued and won Thursday.

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