About the Candidate
Name: Susana A. Mendoza
DOB: May 13, 1972
Occupation: Illinois State Comptroller
Political Experience: Illinois State Representative, House District 1 (2001-2011); City Clerk of Chicago (2011-2016); Illinois State Comptroller (2016 -present)
Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza here respectfully asking for your vote to continue the progress we’ve made together as I run for re-election.
When you first elected me your Comptroller in 2016, I walked into the worst fiscal crisis in our state’s history.
Illiinois had a backlog of unpaid bills approaching $17 billion dollars.
Nursing homes and hospice centers were waiting six months to a year to get paid, while connected tech consultants were on speed-pay.
The average bill in the comptroller’s office was 210 business days old - nearly a year.
Small businesses and social service providers suffered like never before.
You elected me to turn things around, and that’s exactly what I did.
On Day 1, I put our state’s most vulnerable at the front of the line.
I delivered the largest financial transparency reforms in the history of the Comptroller’s Office, including my landmark Debt Transparency Act.
Newspapers around the country call my website the gold standard for transparency in COVID spending. It’s your money and you should know how the state is spending it.
I eliminated our state’s backlog of unpaid bills - down from $16.7 billion to an Accounts Payable of $2.5 billion today, without using ARPA federal stimulus funds.
Instead of 210 days, state vendors are now paid in 14 days - the fastest vendor payment cycle in over 20 years. AND, I helped lead our state to its first three credit upgrades in over 20 years - in the middle of a global pandemic.
That’s a remarkable turnaround. And it took strategic financial management on my part. And for the sixth year in a row, my office’s budget is 10% lower than when I took office.
Thank you for trusting me to serve as your Comptroller and I hope I can count on your vote to continue the important work of serving you.
Why are you running?
Since being elected in 2016, my leadership as the state’s chief financial officer has played a central role in getting Illinois its first credit rating increases in over 20 years, cutting our state's backlog of unpaid bills from nearly $17 billion to under $4 billion, and speeding up vendor payment cycles from over 9 months to under 30 days—the fastest vendor payment cycle in over 20 years. I am running to keep Illinois on the path to fiscal prosperity while continuing to ensure transparency and accountability from the Office of the Comptroller.
What does this office do well, and what needs fixing?
I have been the lead architect of Illinois’s financial turnaround since taking over the Office of the Comptroller under the most challenging of circumstances. Over the last 6 years, my office has enacted historic transparency reforms, prioritized payments to our state's most vulnerable populations, paid down our bill backlog, and gotten our state its first 2 credit ratings upgrades in over 20 years—in the middle of a global pandemic, no less. All of this has been accomplished while reducing my office’s budget by 10% since I was sworn in. There is a lot this office does well. The best way to further improve the office and continue to find Illinois taxpayers new ways to save money is to re-elect me in November.
What is the most pressing issue facing your constituents and how do you plan on addressing it?
We must continue to direct resources towards our rainy day fund, pay down our pension obligations, and bring tax relief to Illinois residents. This past legislative session, we were able to pass a balanced budget that included $1 billion directed into our state's rainy day fund and $500 million directed towards pensions—all while cutting taxes for working families. Fiscal discipline must continue to be a top priority for the Office of the Comptroller.
What specific steps would you take to ensure your office is accessible and responsive to your constituents?
I passed the most significant reform bill in the history of the Comptroller’s office with the Debt Transparency Act (DTA) in 2017—an Act that 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. Former Governor Rauner attempted to veto this Act, and his veto was overridden unanimously in the House in historically-unprecedented fashion. The best way for the Office of the Comptroller to be accessible and responsive to constituents is to champion transparency and accountability when it comes to our state's finances, and my office has done exactly that under my leadership. If re-elected, transparency and accountability will continue to be top priorities for my office.