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State

Proposal for Illinois to borrow $4B to pay bills

SPRINGFIELD (AP) – A state lawmaker is proposing Illinois borrow $4 billion to pay its overdue bills, saying agencies and vendors who do business with the state are in dire straits and need to be paid.

The bill from Rep. Esther Golar, a Chicago Democrat, would allow Illinois to borrow the money and use it toward bills more than a month past due as of September.

But Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Tuesday the worst thing the state could do is take on more debt.

Topinka said her office currently has nearly 170,000 outstanding bills totaling $7.1 billion. But she said as the economy improves, the state is making progress paying down the backlog.

Golar asked for more time before the House Executive Committee votes.

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