(CBS) — State agencies and residents across the state are breathing a sigh of relief, now that a budget has been passed.
But who gets paid first?
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports.
Relief: That’s what most taxpayers expressed, now that the Illinois General Assembly has overridden the governor’s veto and passed a budget. It means the state can now begin to repay the $15 billion it owes to hospitals, schools, vendors and social service agencies.
“They’re not going to get that tomorrow,” says Bobby Otter, with the Center for Tax and Budget Accountability.
That’s because the state has to borrow the money by selling bonds and then review all the vouchers that have stacked up over the last couple of years before cutting the check.
“It’s going to be months. It’s unclear if it’s going to be three months, if it’s going to be six months, if it’s going to be two months,” Otter says.
And there’s a pecking order to who gets paid first. At the top of the list, financial institutions that loan money to the state; health care institutions; schools.
The bottom of the list includes agencies that provide domestic abuse shelters, child care and substance abuse treatment, Otter says.
Andrea Durbin represented 44 providers that sued the state for funds. She says the state’s budget problems caused 1,000 jobs to be lost.
Durbin sees Thursday’s action as good news. Now, agencies will be able to persuade their lenders that the check really is in the mail.
Experts say the state is not expected to pay in full immediately.
As for the Illinois Lottery, ticket sales will now resume for the Mega Millions and Powerball games, officials announced. State transportation projects are also expected to resume.