(Springfield, IL) — February 11, 2010. Illinois’ deadbeat status is now reaching into politicians’ pockets, as lawmakers face “past due” bills for office rent, medical charges and other payments.
Some lawmakers are facing up to $10,000 in late payments and it’s starting to take its toll.
State Senator Dan Duffy (R-Barrington) said the state has not paid his rent in four to six months, and his landlord is on the verge of evicting him from his office.
“The small business owner who owns my building has sent me an eviction notice once and last week, he sent me a notice saying the state needs to make a substantial payment,” Duffy said. “This is just another example of how the state has absolutely no money.”
Duffy said he pays for his office’s phone lines, furniture and computers from his own campaign fund, but the state owes about $8,000 to $10,000 in rent.
He said he talks to state officials weekly about his payments, but said he plans to move out of his office if he has to.
State Rep. Mike Bost (R-Carbondale) said he’s also experiencing problems in getting his rent, phones bills and other office costs paid.
To prevent his office’s credit score from falling, he said he’s had to cancel some services and, along with many other lawmakers, use campaign funds to pay the bills. He said the state is up to nine months behind on payments.
Bost said he doesn’t see the embarrassing situation getting better anytime soon
“Knowing what I’ve seen around here,” he said, “it’s only going to get worse.”
Although State Rep. Will Burns (D-Chicago) hasn’t had any major issues with late payments, he said he knows it’s a problem for many other legislators.
Burns said the late payments are hurting state vendors because they need the money to stay afloat.
“We have got to figure out a way to pay our state vendors,” he said.
State Rep. Mike Smith (D-Pekin) said that “pretty much everything” his office has submitted to the state is paid late – from rent to utilities to newspaper subscriptions.
“I would say it’s at least 60 to 90 days behind,” Smith said. “Everything we’ve submitted is late at this point.
For State Senator Pamela Althoff (R-Crystal Lake) vendors have been very understanding. However, she said she’s had her phone and Internet connection in her office cut off twice due to late payments.
“[The late payments] are probably in excess of $10,000,” she said.
Althoff said she understands her overdue bills if the state is instead paying social service agencies.
“If they had to pick somebody not to pay, I would certainly prefer it to be the elected officials so we understand exactly how serious this crisis is,” Althoff said.
Ashley Badgley, Illinois Statehouse News