Illinois' unpaid bills affecting small businesses

CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - The State of Illinois owes billions of dollars in unpaid bills. And not all of those dollars are owed to public schools, city governments and state agencies.

Hundreds of millions of dollars are owed to small businesses.

"Maybe we'll get paid next month maybe we won't," said Kip Lyerla owner of Advanced Mobility, LLC.

The company provides mobility devices to people who are unable to walk.  The state currently owes Lyerla more than $27,000.

"It's a lot of money too for our day-to-day business to stay open. We have lights to pay for, vehicles, salaries and health insurance. That's what the state owes us now. But it varies month to month," Lyerla said.

Just how much the state ends up owing the business every month depends on how many people need one of the wheelchairs or scooters.

"A large majority of the people we provide this equipment to utilize the Illinois Medicaid system to provide and pay for this equipment," said Lyerla.

"We have to provide the equipment, pay for the equipment and then wait for the state to pay us back. And sometimes the difference between when we pay for it and when we get paid for it is a long period of time. And it really puts a strain on us as a business."

It's a strain that Lyerla says affects him in more ways then just the day to day operations.

"It's very difficult to manage more then anything. It really puts a hold on the decisions I want to make to grow the business. I can't really make those decisions because I really don't know if we're going to get paid or not."

And Advanced Mobility is just one of more than 165 businesses the State of Illinois owes money to in the Carterville area. The total owed to those businesses currently tops more than $1.9 million.

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