unpaid bills

Illinois is chasing a moving target as it tries to dig out of the nation's worst budget crisis, and $7.5 billion worth of unpaid bills hadn't even been sent to the official who writes the checks by the end of June.

Illinois Billions of Dollars Deeper in Debt

May 31, 2017

Two years with no budget have left the state of Illinois billions of dollars deeper in debt than when the budget impasse started. The state comptroller’s office says that when the fiscal year ends, the state’s stack of unpaid bills will be $11.6 billion higher. 

William Johnson / Creative Commons


A federal judge appeared conflicted over whether the Illinois state government should prioritize Medicaid payments — possibly at the expense of schools, pensions and payroll payments — during the ongoing budget impasse.

Two years ago, Judge Joan Lefkow ordered the state must pay Medicaid providers even though it is operating without a budget. The state is now virtually out of money — its backlog of bills has grown beyond $14.2 billion — and Medicaid service providers said the state isn’t paying them fast enough. 


A Chicago tax policy and research group is urging Illinois lawmakers to pass a full budget instead of "piecemeal" solutions in the final weeks of the legislative session.  The Civic Federation says in order to close an estimated $4.6 billion deficit, Illinois needs spending restraints, increased revenues, and borrowing for unpaid bills. 

Sixty one social service agencies suing the State of Illinois over the budget impasse got their day in court today.  Providers of addiction treatment and rape counseling sued the state for payment.  A Cook County judge ruled they don’t have to be paid if there is no budget.  So those groups appealed.

More than two dozen health care providers and insurance companies are telling a federal judge in Chicago they may have to stop serving some poor patients. That’s because the State of Illinois is so late in paying Medicaid bills due to the budget impasse. Twenty-five health care organizations are asking a federal judge to make the state government reimburse them faster for seeing Medicaid patients. They say if the judge doesn’t agree, then doctors may stop seeing Medicaid patients altogether.

Illinois lawmakers are working on legislation intended to help youth programs struggling under the state budget impasse.  Youth services do things like help kids avoid time in jail; one helps school kids after a classmate is murdered. 

A central Illinois center for addiction treatment will stay open for now, despite payment delays during the state’s ongoing budget crisis. After two years without a permanent budget, the state is facing a backlog of $12.6 billion in unpaid bills to state employees, contractors and agencies.

Dr. Ronald Lynch runs a family dentistry in Jacksonville. He says approximately 20 percent of his patients are state workers. Because Illinois is still running with no budget, the state has not been paying its employees’ health bills on time — and the delays are growing.

Those who work for Illinois organizations that provide services to survivors of domestic violence say the fact that there’s no funding for them in the soon-to-expire state spending plan was an unfortunate surprise.

Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois lawmakers are contemplating dire economic forecasts as they meet in search of a state budget deal.  Legislative leaders met with the governor at the Capitol and discussed numbers released Tuesday by Rauner's budget director. 

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger campaigned in the Quad Cities Wednesday, alongside candidates for state senate and house. Munger asked for support for her "No Budget, No Pay" bill, that would stop Illinois lawmakers from being paid, until a full, balanced budget is passed.

A group of social service providers that sued the state over lack of payment are pushing forward with their case. But the coalition has shrunk. The Pay Now Coalition used to have nearly one hundred members. 

Social Service Agencies to Remain Partially Unpaid

Aug 31, 2016

Almost 100 social service agencies in Illinois were dealt a blow in a Cook County courtroom this afternoon.  A Cook County judge dismissed their lawsuit against the state of Illinois.  The agencies were trying to force the state to fully pay them for work they were contracted to do during the year-long budget impasse.  

Social Service Agencies Sue State to Pay-up

Aug 19, 2016

Social service agencies owed money from the State of Illinois say the government should pay them like it’s paying for other services - by going further into debt.  Attorneys for the Illinois government say it doesn’t have to fully pay social services for work completed during the 12 months when there was no state budget.

The compromise that led to a stopgap state budget is not stopping a lawsuit asking the state to pay up for services already provided.  For 12 months, social service providers had contracts with the State of Illinois to perform services.  But they weren’t paid because there was no budget.

An Illinois child social service agency is laying off 16 staffers that work with at-risk youth and expectant mothers.  The layoffs are a result of the nearly yearlong budget stalemate between Democratic lawmakers and Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner. 

A new survey of Illinois human service providers shows nearly two-thirds have cut programs because of the state budget standoff, leaving almost 1 million people without services.  The United Way of Illinois released the results of a survey of 429 agencies that have contracts with the state. Illinois owes those waiting to be paid an average of $525,000.   The percentage of agencies that have made cuts was up from 48% in January. 

The director of the primary provider of outpatient mental health services in DeWitt County says it will shut July 1 because of the lack of a state budget.  Executive Director Lynn Scoville says the DeWitt County Human Resource Center board voted to stop providing services after June 30. 

Tanya Koonce

Illinois’ Comptroller is calling on lawmakers and the Governor to come to some kind of budget agreement in the next ten days. The July first start of the state’s new fiscal year without a budget means the four special spending plans sunset.

As Illinois draws close to entering its second year without a budget, one of its many unpaid bills threatens to provoke a dispute with the nation's top crime-fighting force.


Attorneys involved in a lawsuit brought by social service providers working without state pay for nearly a year are due in court next month. 

Social service providers working without state payments for nearly a year are accelerating a lawsuit against the state by seeking immediate payments and adding plaintiffs.  Pay Now Illinois filed an amended complaint in Cook County on behalf of 82 groups. The lawsuit includes 18 new providers seeking payments for contracts over 60 days unpaid.  

The Illinois comptroller met with leaders of Rockford-area nonprofit organizations on Wednesday to talk about the state budget impasse and its effect on human services. Leslie Munger says the situation in Springfield is an inherited problem that can't be solved by taxes alone.

Money keeps state government going.  From services to employee paychecks.  So, how does the State of Illinois function when it's piling up more bills than it can cover?    

Jason Burrows / Flickr

This week’s Past Due looks at cash-strapped Illinois counties trying to call in old fines for offenses like speeding tickets. Some of their efforts have been criticized because they are trying to collect on cases which are two or three decades old. Illinois Public Radio's Jamey Dunn talked with Southern Illinoisan newspaper Reporter Molly Parker who talks about what types of fines the counties are trying to go after. 

Comptroller Leslie Munger says Illinois' unpaid bills backlog could potentially jump past $8 billion by next year without a state budget. 

Il Comptroller visits Peoria

Feb 24, 2015
Denise Molina / Peoria Public Radio

New Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger says she’s continuing her predecessor’s efforts to prioritize payments for social service agencies.