CHICAGO, July 14 Illinois ended fiscal 2014 with unpaid bills totaling $3.9 billion, the smallest amount in five years, Governor Pat Quinn announced on Monday.
The bill pile as of June 30 was over 23 percent lower than the $5 billion of outstanding bills at the end of fiscal year 2013.
The state's chronic bill backlog, which reached a high of $9.9 billion in 2010, has been a contributing factor to downgrades of Illinois' credit ratings, along with the state's $100 billion unfunded public pension liability.
Illinois has the lowest credit ratings among U.S. states.
Quinn's office said the lower bill backlog resulted from reforms to Medicaid, worker's compensation and unemployment insurance as well as other cost-saving measures.
The Democratic governor's bill tally was lower than that of Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, a Republican, whose office estimated the total at $4.4 billion.
"The difference is in that the governor's office doesn't count medical bills until they're past due, while the comptroller counts them as soon as they're billed to the state," said Topinka spokesman Brad Hahn. (Reporting by Karen Pierog, editing by G Crosse)