"This is the time now of belt tightening, the public gets it," says Republican candidate for comptroller Judy Baar Topinka. Topinka says her previous experience in the treasurer's office will help her manage the state's money problems.
"You're structurally changing the state to work in a different way, because if you're going to keep doing it a certain way, over and over again, and you keep spending yourself senseless well then you're going to continue to get the same result," said Topinka.
State Rep. David Miller is also vying for the bid to become comptroller. "You are the comptroller in your own household," said Miller. "I'm sure you're juggling your bills just like anyone else, so it's very important that we have a sense that somebody who understands what that's like."
Miller, a dentist from the south suburbs, says the comptroller's office should prioritize paying the bills of smaller providers that depend on state money to survive. "These unique services that have specialized populations, specialized needs, if they go under it adds to all of our healthcare burden, it adds to all our society woes," Miller said. "So they have to maybe just get pushed up to the front of the line a little bit."
Topinka and Miller have different views when it comes to deciding who gets paid first.
"Every time you move somebody to the front of the line, you push somebody to the back of the line who may be every bit as worthy," said Topinka.
Libertarian comptroller candidate Julie Fox is also in the race. "I've been in situations in my accounting roles where I've worked with cash flow issues," said Fox.
Fox, a certified public accountant from the north suburbs, says she would use her accounting experience to prioritize the state's unpaid bills.
"You take a lot of these smaller providers that have smaller bills, lump them in to one check run and that amount of money might not be substantial but it covers a lot of little providers who are vulnerable," said Fox.