Accomplishments

Your Illinois Comptroller

Susana A. Mendoza was sworn in as the State of Illinois’ 10th Comptroller on December 5, 2016.

Before we get into accomplishments…

What is a Comptroller for the State of Illinois?

In general, the Office of the Illinois Comptroller pays the State’s bills and monitors State funds.

By law, the Illinois Comptroller is the state’s Chief Fiscal Control Officer, responsible for the legal, efficient, and effective operations of state government. The Comptroller’s duties are described in Section 17 of Article V of the Illinois Constitution.

The Comptroller, in accordance with law, shall maintain the State’s central fiscal accounts, and order payments into and out of the funds held by the Treasurer.

In Susana’s own words…

“The Comptroller is the Chief Fiscal and Accountability Officer for the State of Illinois. The Office is responsible for managing the State’s financial accounts as well as providing the public and the State’s elected leadership with objective and timely data concerning the State’s ongoing fiscal condition.”

FIXING ILLINOIS’ FINANCES

LED ILLINOIS TO FIRST CREDIT UPGRADES IN OVER 20 YEARS

Comptroller Mendoza’s astute and fiscally disciplined paydown of Illinois’ bill backlog led Illinois to its first credit ratings increase in over 20 years. Ratings analysts cited the improvement of the state’s bill backlog as key to the upgrades. This remarkable accomplishment was achieved without using federal stimulus funds and in the middle of a global pandemic.

SLASHED STATE’S BILL BACKLOG BY ALMOST 80%

Comptroller Mendoza cut the state’s backlog of unpaid bills from a staggering $16.7 billion high to $3.5 billion, without using federal stimulus funds, putting Illinois on the path to its first credit upgrades in decades. Through the utilization of every financial tool she could leverage, including strategically targeting bills eligible for federal reimbursements, Comptroller Mendoza maximized the value of every state dollar, chipping away at the bill backlog in record time.

Vision Susana A. Mendoza
DELIVERED FASTEST VENDOR PAYMENT CYCLE IN DECADES

When Comptroller Mendoza took office, vendors had to wait over 10 months to get paid. Today, the wait for paying general funds bills is under 30 days—the fastest vendor payment cycle in over 20 years. Comptroller Mendoza is committed to providing businesses with stability and reliability by paying our bills on time.

SAVED TAXPAYERS $4 TO $6 BILLION WHILE BRINGING CRITICAL RELIEF TO ILLINOIS BUSINESSES

Comptroller Mendoza in 2017 led the charge to bring pressure on Governor Rauner to refinance a large portion of Illinois’ $16.7 billion backlog of unpaid bills. Instead of paying 12 percent interest on most of that debt, the state-financed the bond deal at only 3.5 percent, in turn saving taxpayers a net $4 to $6 billion over the life of the issuance, and freeing up the bond funds to pay social service providers, schools, and Illinois businesses who had been waiting up to two years for payment.

PAID OFF FEDERAL COVID-19 LOAN TWO YEARS EARLY, SAVING TAXPAYERS $82 MILLION

Comptroller Mendoza took another important step toward restoring fiscal stability and predictability to Illinois by utilizing stronger-than-expected revenues to repay a loan two years ahead of schedule. The $2 billion loan from the U.S. Federal Reserve was necessary to help cover the expenses associated with the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic. The loan was required to be repaid by December 2023. By paying it off early, Comptroller Mendoza saved taxpayers $82 million in interest payments.

ENSURING TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY

DEBT TRANSPARENCY ACT

Comptroller Mendoza advocated tirelessly to successfully override Governor Rauner’s veto of her Debt Transparency Act (DTA), the most significant reform bill in the history of the Comptroller’s Office. It requires monthly, rather than yearly, reporting from state agencies to the Comptroller on the amount of bills being held at state agencies, how old they are, and estimated accrued late-payment interest penalties.

TRUTH IN HIRING ACT

Comptroller Mendoza built upon the success of the DTA with the Truth in Hiring Act. This transparency reform ends the deceptive practice of governors hiding Governor staff salaries within other state agencies’ budgets to mask the true cost of the Governor’s budget.

Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza
LOUD VOICE FOR FISCAL DISCIPLINE

Comptroller Mendoza has been a loud voice for fiscal discipline. At every turn, she has shined a light on the state’s finances, called for passing balanced budgets, holding the line on spending, and building back Illinois’ Rainy Day Fund. She has saved taxpayers billions of dollars by refinancing high-interest debt to low interest, strategically maximizing federal reimbursements, and even repaying loans early to save taxpayer dollars.

CUT HER OWN BUDGET TO LEAD BY EXAMPLE

At a time when the Comptroller’s Office has had to work harder than ever in its history, both during the unprecedented 736-day budget impasse and throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Comptroller Mendoza led by example by cutting her own budget. She has continuously challenged herself and her staff to do more with less. Year after year, she has put forth the lowest request for a General Revenue Fund appropriation level for the Illinois Office of Comptroller in 25 years.

PRIORITIZED EDUCATION AND SOCIAL SERVICES FUNDING

Comptroller Mendoza has been transparent about her prioritization of state funds. No matter the challenges, Comptroller Mendoza prioritized and expedited payments to those struggling most during the budget impasse and the Covid-19 pandemic. She sent more categorical payments to state schools in one year than any Comptroller in Illinois history and prioritized payments to social service providers, including those offering hospice care and care for seniors, that had languished under the prior administration.

VISITS ALL OF ILLINOIS’ 102 COUNTIES

Comptroller Mendoza made it a point to understand the needs and concerns of Illinoisans by visiting all 102 counties in Illinois. She holds herself accountable and actively listens to the needs of Illinoisans by meeting with social service providers, students, and faculty at schools and universities, and visiting business owners and business groups across Illinois.

ACTING AS YOUR FISCAL WATCHDOG

CHAMPIONED “NO EXIT/SIGNING BONUS” LEGISLATION

Comptroller Mendoza’s “No Exit/Signing Bonus” legislation passed the legislature and was signed into law in 2021. It ends the practice of allowing legislators retiring from or joining the General Assembly from being paid a full month’s salary for only a single day’s work. Historically, legislators could resign on the first of the month, sometimes in disgrace, and still earn a full month’s pay. Comptroller Mendoza ended this unethical practice. Her legislation requires all departing and newly appointed legislators to only be paid for the actual days they work, on a prorated basis.

UNCOVERED FRAUD AND FROZE IRRESPONSIBLE STATE SPENDING

Comptroller Mendoza and her staff blew the whistle on alleged fraud in local government reporting, resulting in felony forgery charges against the village clerk of Royal Lakes, IL. The Comptroller halted $27 million in payments to high-paid consultants, initiated audits of questionable lease arrangements, sounded the alarm on wasteful project cost overruns, and raised the red flag on a behind-the-scenes consolidation of the managed care organizations proceeding outside the standard procurement code.

ISSUED EXECUTIVE ORDER ENFORCING ILLINOIS’ PREVAILING WAGE

Comptroller Mendoza is committed to protecting the rights of Illinois workers. She issued an Executive Order in August 2019 putting companies on notice that her office would monitor compliance with the Prevailing Wage Act and hold up state payments to companies that violated it by underpaying workers. As a result of her Executive Order, a southwestern Illinois technology company was forced to pay back wages and fines totaling $70,628 for violating the Illinois Prevailing Wage Act.

PUSHED EMPLOYEE BONUSES TO THE BACK OF THE LINE

On her first day in office and in the midst of a fiscal crisis, Comptroller Mendoza instructed her staff to put State employee bonuses at the back of the line, in order to triage and prioritize the state’s limited resources for social services, education, and public safety.

Susana A. Mendoza

Biography