April 25, 2012; Source: Murphysboro American

Illinois is well recognized for its habit of paying nonprofits late but the amount it owes to vendors has now increased by $1.3 billion since December and that total debt now stands at $5.6 billion as of the end of March. And when those bills that have not yet been submitted for payment by state agencies are included, the total is estimated to be more than $9 billion, according to Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

Ron Wampler, the administrator of the nonprofit Brother James Court, which serves developmentally disabled adult men, said that the amount the state owed them was $217,000 in September 2011 but it is now $950,000. In a better financial position than many, the organization has enough in savings to cover the lateness of reimbursements but it is not the only problem in state contracting facing the organization. Wampler said that the nonprofit could be more hurt by an eight percent cut in Medicaid reimbursement rates, which would reduce the organization’s income from the state by $340,000. The total amount of the proposed cut, based on the February proposal of Gov. Pat Quinn, is $2.7 billion and Families USA issued a new report Wednesday that estimates job losses in Illinois of more than 25,000 if it is enacted. –Ruth McCambridge