Days ahead of Gov. Pat Quinn’s State of the State address, his budget director has sent lawmakers a letter detailing “encouraging” developments on Illinois’ billions in unpaid bills. The Sunday letter says the backlog will be $5.6 billion by fiscal year’s end, down from roughly $10 billion. Budget chief Jerry Stermer says if progress continues Illinois will be in line with “private-sector benchmarks.” Republicans say the backlog is still too high and the 2011 income tax increase was pitched to fix it. The increase expires next year. Quinn has been noncommittal on if he’ll push for an extension. A budget spokesman says there isn’t a connection between the letter and Quinn’s Wednesday speech. He says Quinn will later outline budget issues.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention named Illinois as one of 16 recipients in a program called "Prescription Drug Overdoses: Prevention for States."
Blankenhorn says the budget battle hasn’t had much of an impact on the agency yet, as the appropriation for ongoing construction projects was signed by the governor.
National Corn Growers Association attributes positive farming outlook to decent crops and more people entering farming.
Sangamon County Election Office also open Sunday and Labor Day Monday.