Budget – Unpaid Bills
· State of Illinois’ backlog of unpaid bills hovers above $9 billion. As of Wednesday, October 26, the State was in possession of more than $9.1 billion in unpaid bills payable from general funds. Unpaid obligations of the State of Illinois include money due to a wide variety of medical service and social service providers. These are entities, most but not all of which are part of the private sector, which provide services to Illinois residents under state and federal laws (such as Medicaid) and have the right to be paid for them.
A wide variety of local government agencies are also hard hit by the State’s poor cash flow. For example, Downstate public transportation districts offer van rides to persons who request transportation assistance, and often offer local bus services. These local bus-and-van agencies cannot hope to cover their operating expenses from fare box collections, and depend on supplemental money from the State, which is currently not being paid. Several Downstate transit systems have shut down operations due to the lack of state funding.
Agriculture – Harvest Time
· Illinois farmers have harvested more than three-quarters of corn, soybeans. The bumper crop numbers were reported on Tuesday, October 25 by the National Agriculture Statistics Service. Relatively dry conditions have made it possible for heavy farm equipment to repeatedly enter mature crop fields in most sections of Illinois. Warm weather has further helped with harvest conditions.
Damp fields affect some portions of the State. The Illinois Department of Agriculture reported at the start of this week that the corn harvest was 83% complete, compared to 91% last year, and the bean harvest was 76% done, compared to 77% for the 5-year average. Large quantities of winter wheat are planted in some parts of Illinois, especially the southeastern counties. This fall-sown crop had been 68% planted as of this week.