CHICAGO (CBS) — Ahead of Gov. Pat Quinn’s state of the state address this Wednesday and his budget address next month, a tax watchdog group is sounding the alarm about Illinois’ looming financial disaster.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports, the Civic Federation warns unless the governor and General Assembly act immediately, the state’s backlog of unpaid bills will balloon from their current total of $9 billion to a record of nearly $35 billion over the next five years.

Federation president Laurence Msall says his group’s annual assessment has warned for some time about unsustainable pension obligations.

“What’s new is really that the Medicaid growth – the growth that’s the public-funded health care program for those people that are either the poorest or the most vulnerable – is growing at such a rate that it is going to swamp as well as the pension crisis in the State of Illinois,” Msall said.

Msall says last year, the state acted on the revenue side with a whopping tax increase, but did little on the other side of the balance sheet to rein in spending.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Regine Schlesinger reports

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