News Local/State

Agencies Waiting For Overdue State Payments Earn Interest—Except For Youth Service Providers

The Illinois Statehouse in Springfield

The Illinois Statehouse in Springfield. Wikipedia

Without a budget, Illinois is racking up more debt every day, in the form of interest it owes on its overdue bills. But not all state bills are included.

When most vendors and service providers have to wait more than three months to get paid, state law says Illinois also owes them interest. But that law doesn’t include youth services — programs that help kids avoid jail time, or get counseling after friends are murdered on the street.

Nora Collins-Mandeville works for the Chicago-based Illinois Collaboration on Youth. She says the exclusion is an oversight, and is causing huge financial problems for such organizations.

“They’re taking out loans, they’re extending lines of credit,” said Collins-Mandeville. “Even some of them are putting mortgages on their property that they’ve paid in full.”

There is bipartisan support for legislation that would correct the oversight. It would do nothing to address the greater problem of delayed payments --- that would require a state budget.

But if legislation extending interest to youth service providers were passed, it could make it easier for them to get loans to keep them afloat while the budget battle drags on.