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updated: 11/7/2013 7:36 AM

State panel raises Illinois revenue forecast $369 million

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Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD -- Illinois is on track to bring in an extra $369 million in revenue for the current fiscal year, according to the General Assembly's budget forecasters.

The Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability reported Tuesday that the state's extra money includes another $200 million from sales tax income and an additional $72 million from court settlements. Officials credit the gains in part to an increase in car sales as well as income tax collections that are off to a better-than-expected start.

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"Auto sales have really been doing well," said Jim Muschinske, the commission's revenue manager.

The updated figure raises the commission's general fund estimate to $35.8 billion, up from $35.45 billion for the fiscal year that ends in June -- an increase of about 1 percent.

State officials haven't said what they'll do with the additional money.

Some legislators have said they want to use the money to for the state's unpaid bills, which have reached an estimated $7.3 billion. Others want to use a portion of the proceeds to pay back wages to state workers.

"There are no shortage of bills to pay, and there will not be enough increased revenue this year to pay them all," said state Sen. Michael Frerichs, a Champaign Democrat who is the co-chairman of the forecasting commission.

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