Mendoza criticizes Illinois’ ‘lawless’ fiscal climate

Crain’s Chicago Business reports:

“Hospitals and doctors treating patients on the state payroll are now owed a collective $4.3 billion, Democratic Comptroller Susana Mendoza highlights in a new report that reflects a “lawless fiscal climate.”

The annual state report for the fiscal year ended June 30 “paints a worsening outlook” for Illinois’ financial future, the comptroller’s office said in a statement.

“Volumes of research go into this report, but I can summarize our state finances in one word: Abysmal,” Mendoza said in the statement.

She added that Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner’s “failure in leadership has been so spectacular that no aspect of the state has been spared. The numbers back that up.”
A spokeswoman for Rauner did not immediately comment. He’s been sparring with Illinois lawmakers for much of his two years in office trying to pass a state budget.

In the 375-page report, Mendoza underscored the budget crisis. Illinois’ net deficit grew about 5 percent from June 2015 to June 2016, totaling $126.7 billion last year. The bulk of the liability is in a $116 billion pension shortfall.

Spending on health and social services programs in particular declined by $834 million in 2016, while the backlog of bills to doctors and hospitals for treating Illinois employees who use the state health insurance plan more than doubled, totaling $4.3 billion.

The outlook remains “bleak” without a complete budget, the comptroller’s office said.