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Bills get paid faster in Ill. with lawmakers' help
Helping hand: When lawmakers intervene, Illinois speeds up process of paying its overdue bills
By The Associated Press

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) ' Doing business in Illinois means learning how to beg ' preferably to an influential politician.

The state is late paying billions of dollars of bills and Gov. Pat Quinn's office has set up a website for "hardship payment" requests.

Nearly 1,000 pages of correspondence obtained by The Associated Press under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act show that payment for overdue bills often arrive days after intervention by a lawmaker.

The website says bills must be 90 days old and that older bills are paid first.

But documents and interviews show money flowed within days after written requests from lawmakers ' sometimes for bills submitted just days earlier.

A Quinn aide says the 90-day rule is a "guideline." Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's spokesman says payments are made for "legitimate emergencies."

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