Illinois owes these 778 vendors $6.7 billion in overdue bills – Government News

on Sep7

6 September 2017 | 6:44 pm

CORRECTED

More than 60 businesses and other groups are owed at least $10 million apiece by the state, while 13 of them are due $100 million or more. Those owed the most are in health care, including insurers Aetna Better Health and Blue Cross/Blue Shield parent Health Care Services, each out nearly $600 million.

A list of state vendors, which stretches to 778 names with unpaid invoices of at least $500,000 and totals $6.7 billion, was circulated today by the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. The business group is asking members if it should weigh in on how to quicken the payment of the state’s $15 billion backlog of bills. Whether the mountain of debt should be refinanced and how soon has divided Gov. Bruce Rauner and State Comptroller Susana Mendoza, among other politicians.

The Teachers Retirement System, owed $350.4 million, and the Regional Transportation Authority, owed $340.2 million, were the biggest public-sector creditor, followed by the Chicago Board of Education at $295.3 million.

The top four IOUs are owed to health insurance companies, which also include Illinicare Health Plan and Meridian Health Plan. Altogether, the quartet is due $2.20 billion.

The state’s public universities make the list, too, led by the University of Illinois which is out $190.3 million.​

Those owed $1 million or more numbers 464 institutions; they include more than 150 local school districts and community colleges.

Michael Reever, the chamber’s acting CEO, wrote in the email that was forwarded to Crain’s: “I am reaching out to see if this issue impacts your company or if you have an opinion on its impact on Illinois’ fiscal condition, and if you’d like the chamber to take a position, if any.”

Although the attitude of firms owed lots of money by the state might be self-evident, Reever says the chamber wants to hear from members that aren’t necessarily directly impacted. Even if they don’t do business with Springfield, they could face higher taxes as the state takes measures to climb out of its fiscal hole.

“We just try to make sure we do due diligence with our membership,” he said.

Mendoza, a Democrat, has been pressing the Rauner administration to save money by refinancing the debt at rates below interest charges averaging 9 to 12 percent associated with bills more than 90 days past due. She says delay is costing the state $2 million a day. Rauner, a Republican, has balked at more borrowing until state budget policies are changed more to his liking. In a statement today his office said he is finalizing a budget implementation plan for fiscal 2018, “including the possibility of issuing bonds to refinance the high-cost of the state’s bill backlog debt.”

Among private companies outside of health care, Union Pacific Railroad lead the group with $42.7 million in unpaid bills. Advertising firm WPP Group USA ($15.3 million), school vendor NCS Pearson ($15.1 million) and consultant McKinsey ($12 million) also were prominent.

The spelling of Michael Reever, the chamber’s acting CEO, has been corrected.

Illinois entities owed $500k+


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Source: Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce



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