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State owes $850 million in business tax refunds

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

SPRINGFIELD — Thousands of Illinois businesses are waiting for the state to pay long-overdue tax refunds, and there’s no sign the wait will end anytime soon.

The state owes money to roughly 36,000 businesses that overpaid their income taxes, going back to 2008. The backlog totals about $850 million, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka said Wednesday.

Gov. Quinn proposed borrowing to pay the refunds, along with other overdue bills, but legislators have shown little interest in that idea.

Some companies are getting hit twice by the budget problems. They’re waiting for tax refunds — and for payment on work they did for the state.

Topinka said the backlog of unpaid bills is about $4.5 billion. The state also owes $1.2 billion for employee health insurance and $1 billion for bills that will arrive after the budget year ends June 30. In all, she said, Illinois is on pace to end the year $8.3 billion in the red.


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