Interest payments on Illinois' late bills cost the state $318 million last year -- enough to cover the annual budget of the Illinois State Police.
That's according to a report by the Springfield bureau of Lee Enterprises newspapers.
The state auditor's overview of Illinois' finances shows interest payments from fiscal year 2013 were more than double what was paid in the previous year.
In 2012, the interest amounted to $136 million. It was $91 million in 2011.
A spokesman for Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says this year's interest payments should be much lower because the state is working to reduce the backlog of unpaid bills.
The state's backlog is expected to fall to $5.6 billion by June 30. That's down from a high of $9.9 billion in 2010.