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Hynes gives another bleak budget outlook for Illinois

By Sean Crawford, IL Public Radio

Springfield, Ill. – Illinois' Comptroller is sounding a fiscal warning just as work gets underway on a new state budget.

Dan Hynes says Illinois government will wind up the budget year owing at least $2 billion in unpaid bills. While that figure is down from last year, Hynes says the problem is still severe.

He says the declining deficit has more to do with stronger tax revenues and the State putting less money into public employee pension systems than good budget practices.

While Illinois leaders are required to pass a balanced budget, that rarely occurs, as the bills are pushed off into the next fiscal year, so the state begins the new spending cycle already owing money.

Hynes is supporting legislation to change that practice. He says when Governor Rod Blagojevich delivers his budget address next week, he hopes to hear the Governor talk about ways to bring down the deficit.