As Illinois’ comptroller, Susana Mendoza is the keeper of the state’s checkbook.
In November, she defeated her incumbent opponent Leslie Munger, who was appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner after the death of former comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.
Along with maintaining the state’s fiscal accounts and ordering payments into and out of funds held by the state treasurer, the comptroller also signs off on paychecks for state employees.
Munger used that latter responsibility to propose delaying payment to state legislators. She rationalized that if lawmakers failed to do their job by agreeing on a state budget, then they wouldn’t get paid.
Mendoza has indicated she would continue this policy, although a few lawmakers filed a lawsuit in December claiming the withholding of salary was unconstitutional.
Since assuming office on Dec. 5, it’s become apparent Mendoza has her work cut out for herself: Illinois remains without a permanent budget and the state’s backlog of unpaid bills exceeds $11 billion.
How will Mendoaz, no stranger to Chicago and state politics, rehabilitate the state’s dismal financial condition?
She joins us to discuss her new role and the future of the state’s finances.
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