October 21, 2005

IL Comptroller Dan Hynes not optimistic on state's grim budget picture

Despite the massive budget hole the state is in, it's notable that Hynes still supports Blago's child health care initiative.
SYCAMORE - State Comptroller Dan Hynes told the DeKalb County Democrats Thursday that he doesn't know where Illinois can find new revenues to balance the state budget.

“We're not real long on ideas in that area,” he said. “That's kind of why we're in the situation we're in. ...We're seeing economic growth, but we're spending it as fast as we're bringing it in.”

Hynes said Illinois has $2.5 billion in debts it can't pay, with much of the money owed to health care providers who are waiting to be paid through Medicare.

“We're basically borrowing on the backs of our providers,” he said. “I don't think there are any major health care providers with the state that do not have a line of credit and have to go to the bank in anticipation of getting paid by the state. We're making them borrow so we don't have to.”

Hynes said a $1 billion short-term loan to pay down the backlog of bills is only a temporary fix, as the loan has to be paid back within the year. Nonetheless, he came out in favor of Governor Rod Blagojevich's program to provide health benefits to all children in the state, an initiative Republican opponents say can't be financed when Illinois is having trouble paying Medicare bills as it is.

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