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Lawmakers plan $1.3B trim to state bills backlog

By David Mercer

Associated Press

Published: Saturday, June 9 2012 12:19 p.m. MDT

Sharon Kayser, executive director of the now-closed Counseling Center of Lake View, stands inside the facility with a sign in the window about the agency's closure in Chicago on Friday, June 8, 2012. The Chicago nonprofit, a mental health services provider, shut down at the end of April, waiting on about $200,000 in state money. Illinois lawmakers have found a way to whittle $1.3 billion from the state government's massive backlog of unpaid bills, but it came to late for the center. Anticipating an annual summer stall in the already-slow payments and eroded by years of cuts in state funding, Kayser said the agency opted to close and find new places for 400 clients rather than continue to slowly fade away.

M. Spencer Green, Associated Press

Enlarge photo»

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Illinois lawmakers plan to cut the state's $8.5 billion backlog of unpaid bills by $1.3 billion, but it's coming too late for some.

The Chicago-based Counseling Center of Lake View is shutting down.

Lake View Executive Director Sharon Kayser says waiting months for state money to arrive and years of state funding cuts led the center to close in April.

Kelly Kraft of Gov. Pat Quinn's staff says the legislature's plan to pay off $1.3 billion of the state's chronic unpaid bills would be a step in the right direction. Quinn is considering the proposed state budget that includes the proposal.

Lawmakers like Rep. Frank Mautino say it wasn't easy to find the money. State education spending is proposed to drop by $210 million to provide some of the funds.

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