Illinois will end the year with overdue bills totaling $7.6 billion. Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka's office says the amount is about 16 percent less than the $9 billion owed at the end of 2012. Topinka spokesman Brad Hahn says it's unclear how the landmark pension-reform package adopted this month will affect the backlog. For one thing, retired teachers and other educators have filed a lawsuit over the plan to save $160 million over 30 years by cutting benefits. They say it's unconstitutional. Hahn says the backlog benefited this year from $1.3 billion in tax revenues that officials didn't expect. Topinka's office had predicted as late as a month ago that the year-end backlog would be closer to $9 billion.
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