CHICAGO — With its coffers bolstered by an income tax increase, Illinois has whittled down its backlog of bills to $3.8 billion from $5.5 billion at this time last year, but Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka warned in her quarterly report that “staggering fiscal challenges remain.”

Nearly $1.2 billion of the backlog of vouchers requesting payment from schools, transit agencies, health care providers, and other state aid recipients and contractors are bills incurred in the last fiscal year that must be paid by the end of December, according to the report released Friday. It is available at

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