Illinois Puts November Pension Payment on Hold; December Payment Also in Jeopardy

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Illinois was scheduled to make its monthly $560 million payment to its pension systems soon. But the state Comptroller announced on Wednesday that the payment would be put on hold – and December’s payment may not be made, either.

From the Chicago Tribune:

Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger warned Wednesday that the ongoing budget stalemate in Springfield has drained the state’s checking account and will force her to delay payments to state pension systems.

Pointing to the numerous court orders, consent decrees and laws that have allowed state government to continue operating without a full budget for more than three months, Munger said that come November there won’t be enough cash available to make the monthly $560 million pension payment. The December payment might be delayed as well, Munger said.

The state has until the middle of 2016 to catch up on the payments, and the comptroller’s office expects to have more cash available during the peak tax collection times around the holidays and in the spring.

Munger said putting off the pension payments was “choosing the least of a number of bad options,” as Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Democrats who control the General Assembly have been unable to reach a budget deal.

The state has a $7 billion bill backlog, Munger said, in part because it is spending billions of dollars beyond what it is set to collect while the impasse continues.

The delay won’t affect benefit payouts, according to Munger.

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