177 state employees committed PPP fraud
A total of 177 Illinois state employees have been determined to have obtained Paycheck Protection Program loans based on falsified information. That’s according to the Office of Executive Inspector General, which put the dollar amount of fraud found “so far” at $4.5 million.
The report shows 132 employees in the Department of Human Services have been identified, the most of any state agency. The investigation was initiated in 2022 to examine whether employees with the state of Illinois abused the federal taxpayer-funded program.
Tobacco bonds paid off
Gov. J.B. Pritzker has announced $449 million in tobacco bonds have been retired. The bonds represent what remained of a $1.5 billion debt associated with the Great Recession, dating back to 2010.
The state traded annual payments it was due from a multi-state legal settlement agreement with various cigarette manufacturers for upfront cash from revenue bonds. The borrowed cash was used to address unpaid bills in 2010.
State fair reports attendance record
There were record-setting attendance totals for the 2023 Illinois State Fair. The more than 700,000 attendees over the 11-day event make this year’s fair the most highly attended event since industry standards were enacted.
The high attendance numbers reflect the second highest Grandstand tickets sold in the last five years. Fair officials credit new promotions, infrastructure improvements and great weather for the boost in numbers.