Comptroller cautions budget impasse means more debt
On Feb. 2, Comptroller Munger said Illinois is on track to accumulate an additional $6.2 billion in debt during Fiscal Year 2016. The debt, she says, can be attributed to lower revenues from the phase-out of the 2011 income tax increase, and the lack of a state budget approved by the General Assembly.
The drop in tax rates on Jan. 1, 2015, contributes to about $5 billion of the expected debt. Also factoring into the debt spike is the state’s rate of spending, which has largely been determined by court orders and consent decrees as the state continues to operate without a budget for the eighth month in a row. As a result, spending has been set at Fiscal Year 2015 levels, or what is required to maintain existing service levels, regardless of the cost or the revenues available.
The Comptroller underscored that $6.2 billion more in debt is particularly troublesome for a state already operating with a multi-billion-dollar backlog of bills.