CHICAGO - Illinois owes nearly $4 billion in unpaid Medicaid and general revenue bills - a state record - and that number could grow to $5 billion by next March, Comptroller Dan Hynes warned yesterday in a letter to state leaders urging action on legislation to expand borrowing rules.

Hynes said given the magnitude of the backlog, a traditional short-term revenue anticipation note issue for cash-flow purposes would fall short of addressing the state's liquidity problems because the notes would have to be repaid by the end of the fiscal year on June 30.

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