Illinois has received responses from 52 underwriting firms and 19 bond counsel firms that are interested in handling the state's negotiated bond business over the next two years.

James Montana, chief legal counsel to Gov. Jim Edgar, has said that firms could be chosen by the end of June.

The final choices will be made by Edgar's office in consultation with Montana, as well as with budget director Joan Walters and other officials in the state Budget Bureau, according to Montana.

Ellen Feldhausen. communications coordinator for the Budget Bureau, said the state is pleased with the response to the requests for proposals, which were due May 30.

For fiscal 1994, which begins July 1, the state is looking for senior underwriters and co-managers for $200 million of Build Illinois sales tax revenue bonds, an undetermined amount of college saver general obligation bonds, and the refunding of an undetermined amount of outstanding Build Illinois debt. Montana has said. Illinois has no estimates for how much debt will be issued in fiscal 1995.

Bond counsel and co-bond counsel firms also will be selected for those 1994 issues as well as short-term general obligation certificates and GO bonds that do not involve college saver debt, according to the request for qualifications.

Under state law, only GO college saver, Build Illinois, civic center, and refunding bonds can be sold on a negotiated basis. Other debt must be sold competitively.

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