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Cullerton: Budget transparency is long overdue

tc 050918SPRINGFIELD  –  A bill introduced in the Illinois Senate would mandate transparency and accuracy in the governor’s annual budget proposal.

State Senator Tom Cullerton (D-Villa Park) advanced House Bill 5814, which forces the governor’s office to record late interest payments as a separate line item in its appropriations to state agencies. This paints a clearer picture of the state’s funds and slows the depletion of funding needed to run those agencies.

“As legislators, we can’t negotiate a proper budget when we don’t know how much money is owed or where it is going,” Cullerton said. “Utilizing responsible accounting practices in state government will allow the citizens of Illinois to know how and where their valuable tax dollars are spent.”

Currently, most late payment interest penalties accrue at a rate of 12 percent per month for bills unpaid after 90 days, while healthcare bills accumulate interest at a rate of 9 percent after 30 days.

The interest penalties are paid from the same appropriation line, depleting the amount a state agency can spend for its operations. Cullerton’s bill forces the governor’s budget to include separate line item requests to for prompt pay interest payments.

“This practice will force all future governors to be more realistic when presenting a budget to the general assembly and public,” Cullerton said. “We need to make sure governors, whether they are republican and democrat, do not attempt to hide behind phony numbers.”

The comptroller’s January 2018 Debt Transparency Report confirmed that taxpayers owe approximately $887 million in late payment interest penalties — despite the fact that over $140 million in interest penalties was paid out in calendar 2017.

This bipartisan measure is an initiative of Comptroller Susana Mendoza and is supported by the Better Government Association.

House Bill 5814 passed the Senate’s State Government Committee with bipartisan support and moves to the full Senate for consideration.

 

Sen. Tom Cullerton

tcullerton-hs

23rd Legislative District

Years served: 2013 - Present

Committee assignments: Energy and Public Utilities; Insurance; Labor; State Government; Transportation; Veterans Affairs (Chairperson); Sub. on Utility Rate Regulations (Sub-Chairperson).

Biography: Born Sept. 20, 1969; studied at the University of Kansas; former village president and trustee of Villa Park; married (wife Stacey), three sons.

Associated Representatives:
Deb Conroy
Diane Pappas