Illinois: The Deadbeat State
June 15th. Many people who work for a living were paid on June 15th. My wife was not one of them. She’s not unemployed, nor does she volunteer her time. No, much worse: She works for a entity that has a contract with the State of Illinois. The State of Illinois has not paid that company for its services, services which have been provided and will continue to be provided. That company has run out of money as its client– the State of Illinois– has not paid its bill according to the contract. Therefore, that company– who has lived up to the terms under the contract– is not able to pay its employees.
But these employees still go to work. The theory behind going to work and not getting paid is that once the state pays its bill, the employees will get paid. This happened last year around this time. My wife worked for roughly eight weeks without getting paid. We started to question whether it was smart to continue going to work and not getting paid. Eight weeks of work without getting paid.
The state did eventually pay its bill and my wife did get her back pay. But the problem remains: The State of Illinois is not paying its bills. In the abstract, its too bad even or embarrassing that we live in a deadbeat state. Is Dan Hynes not answering his office telephone because he’s getting collection calls?
Last week, I wrote the following:
Back in December 2009, Dan Hynes also noted that Illinois had $5.1 billion– read that again, $5.1 billion– in unpaid bills. And that number did not include the $2.25 billion in short-term loans the state had to repay, plus the additional $1.4 billions (again that word: billion) in unpaid health care bills, and Illinois effective backlog was over $8.75 billion.
In the abstract, $5.1 billion in unpaid bills is embarrassing to citizens of the deadbeat state, however, when a family loses income, it can be devastating. My family is fortunate, having two incomes and a safety net, however, many other families are not so lucky. Think about a sole provider not bringing home a paycheck for eight weeks. The rent or mortgage that doesn’t get paid. The car note that doesn’t get paid. Using credit cards to but groceries. Still paying for childcare. Not getting paid is devastating.
And where are our legislators? Not in Springfield doing the job that we pay then to do– I wonder if they are collecting their checks?– but rather back home raising funds for the November election.
I didn’t have the opportunity to contact my state representative and state senator today to see what they are doing to get these $5.1 billion in unpaid bills paid, but I intend to do so. I also intend on asking whether they are being paid for their “work”, when other Illinoisans are working without getting a check, waiting for them, ironically, to do their job.
It just doesn’t seem right. And unfortunately, far too things just don’t seem right with respect to our state. And our legislators, from the governor on down, just aren’t doing enough to change that feeling I have.