Illinois is ending the calendar year with $7.6 billion in unpaid bills. That’s 16 percent less than what the state owed at the end of 2012, but $1.5 billion more than the estimated backlog at the end of the fiscal year in June. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka attributes that fluctuation to collecting $1.3 billion more than expected in tax revenue, but she had predicted the year-end backlog would be bigger.
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“We also said that by December we would probably be back up to about $9 billion,” Topinka said. Topinka said the state will likely catch up on payments in the spring and summer when tax revenues are stronger. As far as where the backlog may stand at the end of fiscal year 2014, she said the court battle over the pension reform law, and the savings it may or may not bring, make that hard to predict. Topinka added she’s also concerned about how the Affordable Care Act could affect the backlog.