Susana Mendoza

Illinois has bills to pay after 2 years without budget plan

Illinois finally has a budget plan after two years. Now, to start paying bills.

The Democratic-controlled Legislature's vote last week to create a $36 billion framework over Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner's vetoes ended the nation's longest fiscal stalemate since at least the Great Depression. At the core of the budget was a $5 billion income tax increase.

The tax hike is retroactive to July 1, and the state could start seeing some additional money within weeks. But after unchecked "autopilot" spending that outstripped incoming revenue by $600 million a month, Illinois has a $14.7 billion jumble of overdue bills.

The tax increase also does nothing to...