SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – As Illinois’ estimated bill backlog sits at a record $14.3 billion, state Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is calling on Gov. Rauner to sign legislation that would reform how state agencies manage their finances and reveal the full extent of the state’s debt obligations.
“With an honest, bi-partisan, balanced budget in place, this transparency bill is one step that can be made to let taxpayers know how much money is owed to various entities across Illinois, including schools and social service providers,” Welch said. “Under Governor Rauner’s reign, Illinois’ bill backlog has tripled to a crippling level, and this particular legislation offers transparency and accountability to state government that is desperately needed.”Welch’s House Bill 3649 would require agencies to report monthly to the Comptroller the liabilities they are holding, plus an estimate of the account of late interest penalties that will be paid on those bills. According to the Comptroller’s Office, liabilities are not being reported quickly enough, and as a result, millions of dollars in penalty fees are accruing on the state’s overdue bills. By reforming how state agencies report their liabilities, Welch’s legislation would ensure that hard-earned, taxpayer dollars are protected from financial mismanagement.“The Debt Transparency Act would give the Governor’s Office, legislators, the media and most importantly the taxpayers of Illinois a much clearer picture of the state’s finances and the amount owed on the state’s unpaid bills,” said State Comptroller Susana Mendoza. "We hope Governor Rauner follows the advice of his fellow Republicans and Democrats and signs the bill."House Bill 3649 passed both the House and Senate with bipartisan support at the end of the spring legislative session, and has been sitting on the governor’s desk for more than 30 days awaiting his consideration.