(This story appears courtesy of the Illinois News Network)
Illinois is too cash-poor to make its November pension-systems payment of about $560 million, the state’s comptroller said Wednesday.
And, said Comptroller Leslie Munger, that may be the case again in December.
Pension checks will still go out, she said, but the state’s retirement systems will have to dip into the body of their already under-funded accounts.
The state may be able to catch up with its payments in the spring.
“While we are unable to make our state systems payment in November and possibly December, we’ll use every dollar available in the higher revenue months that we get this spring to catch up on our obligation and ensure our expected payments are fully made before the end of the fiscal year,” she said.
Resolving the Illinois budget impasse might not be a simple matter, but the state’s shortage of cash is not hard to grasp, the comptroller said.
Illinois is now halfway through its fourth month of fiscal year 2016 without a budget.
But, by way of court orders, spending dictated in continuing appropriations and paying for primary and secondary education, Illinois is going through its money at roughly the same clip it did in fiscal year 2015, but with about $5 billion less in revenue.
Munger said she’s not happy about having to delay the pension system payments, but there’s only so much money to spread around after handling court-ordered payments and debt service.
“To be clear, this decision is choosing the the least of a number of bad options,” she said.
“Like a household that is drowning in debt, we use whatever funds we can to fend off the creditors for one more day,” she said.