State’s unpaid bills would remain

SPRINGFIELD — Karen Kuchar, executive director of Family Shelter Services in Wheaton, doesn’t know exactly how much state money her organization will get under the budget lawmakers sent to Gov. Pat Quinn Monday.

But she is reasonably certain she’ll have to wait for it.

Lawmakers approved most of a state budget Monday that many agree — even some Republicans who often loudly protest Democrats’ budgets — probably won’t spend more money than the state takes in next year.


The state still owes human service organizations like Kuchar’s, schools, universities and doctors billions of dollars — as much as $8 billion by the end of June, by one estimate.

Kuchar’s state payments are five months late. She said her shelters have done OK via private fundraising in the meantime. But the state’s late payments create a big cash-flow problem.

“It’s just a matter of when it will be and how we will fare in the meantime,” Kuchar said.

Quinn wanted to borrow money to pay down those unpaid bills, but lawmakers have said “no.”

Quinn could still alter the plan lawmakers approved Monday and send it back. But for now, he has a plan on his desk that cuts $1.6 billion from his proposal.

The Senate sent the House a proposal to spend about $430 million more that could be debated today. But some House Democrats like Rep. Fred Crespo of Hoffman Estates don’t appear ready to support it, saying the state won’t bring in enough money to spend that much.

“Math is a simple thing,” Crespo said.