An Illinois Senate panel heard about the state’s financial condition from members of the administration as well as from interest groups. The state’s backlog of unpaid bills is about $7 billion, and the comptroller’s office and governor’s budget office expect about $2 billion more yet to arrive at the comptroller.
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Ben Winick of the budget office told senators, “Section 25 of the State Finance Act has often been used as a budgetary tool for us to balance our budget off the books; basically ignoring the state’s liability by underappropriating for certain programs, knowing full well that we can then use the next year’s appropriation to pay for those liabilities,” he testified. State Sen. Chapin Rose (R-Mahomet) found that quite interesting, wondering what would happen if the state applied “the Section 25 deal” to everything. “There’s a great argument for transparency,” said Rose.
From the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability, From 1990 to 2005, after inflation, Illinois property taxes grew by 42 percent, while median income grew by 2.8 percent. “You do not pay property taxes out of the value of your property; you pay it out of your income,” Martire points out.