Thursday, November 22 2012, 11:00 PM CST
Quinn Remains Interested in Borrowing to Pay Bills
More than $8 billion dollars is how much the state of Illinois owes its
vendors. Despite the tax increase that went into effect in 2011,
Illinois' overdue bills issue, hasn't improved. That's why Governor
Quinn is still interested in borrowing, to help pay down the debt.
has previously pushed a plan to borrow about $8.7 billion dollars and
pay that back over 14 years, but it never gained enough traction at the
statehouse. Today, Quinn is focused on pension reform. But his interest
to borrow is still there."
Proponents argue it pays vendors
immediately who are owed money and puts a large amount of money,
immediately into the economy. Opponents argue Illinois is billions in
the hole and adding more debt doesn't help. State Treasurer Dan
Rutherford, a Republican, says he is open to short term borrowing, but
not long term.
"In my company, my chief executive officer would
go crazy if they said, 'Let's go borrow for 15 years to pay for
employees today, cars, and paper clips of today. 15 years.' That is an
inappropriate financial plan."
State Senator Michael Frerichs, a
Democrat, would want to see a borrowing proposal first, before he could
support something. But, he says, if we can pay down our vendors and
force fiscal discipline on the state budget, then that is something the
state should look at.
"We have borrowed from state vendors, from
school districts and universities, and many of these vendors, we are
paying interest to," Frerichs said. "If we can lower that interest rate,
every homeowner realizes of refinancing their mortgage, and reducing
their interest payments. That's something that I think is fiscally
responsible and the state should look at."
In the city of
Springfield, Mayor Mike Houston says the state still owes the city seven
figures. How tough does that make planning and budgeting?
"It makes it very, very difficult," Houston said.
office says there is no new plan on borrowing, but Quinn's budget
director last week reiterated the administration's interest in working
with the General Assembly on this issue.
Lawmakers return to the
capitol on Tuesday for the start of the veto session, which is scheduled
to run six days. In early January, they will return for the Lame Duck
Session. The new general assembly will be sworn in January 9th. At the