Illinois government's pile of unpaid bills could quadruple over the next five years to $35 billion. That's the conclusion in a new report by the Civic Federation that urges quick action to prevent the debt explosion. The group expects health care and pension costs to keep climbing and to eat up a bigger share of the state budget.

Meanwhile, revenues will fall when the temporary income tax expires. With less money to pay bills, the backlog is likely to explode from $9.2 billion now to $34.8 billion. That figure doesn't include tens of billions of dollars owed by state pension systems.

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The Civic Federation suggests cutting retirement benefits for government employees, reducing Medicaid costs and taxing retirement and Social Security income.

Civic Federation president Laurence Msall says the state has begun to address some of the issues but says more must be done.

(Copyright WBGZ Radio/