Illinois' Bond Rating Takes Another Hit

Jan 25, 2013

Illinois' bond rating continues to slide. Standard and Poor's has lowered Illinois to an A minus. The impact could mean it will cost Illinois more to borrow money for various projects and needs.


Standard and Poor's says the downgrade is caused by legislators' lack of action on measures that would reduce the state's ballooning pension costs.

Treasurer Dan Rutherford, a Republican, says it's irresponsible that legislators and the governor haven't done anything about it.

"Every deadline set and inaction occurred, it costs us a negative issuance.  We know have joined the bottom of the pile, we are the bottom of the pile according to Standard and Poor's" Rutherford said. 

Standard and Poor's analysts say that lawmakers' poor track record the past couple of years makes them pessimistic that'll change.  The agency's report says that even if something does pass, legal challenges could leave Illinois with a pension problem for years to come. 

On Friday, Democratic Governor Pat Quinn tried to give a push to a measure Senate President John Cullerton advanced. It blends two pension proposals that have gained the most steam. But in the past, Quinn's backing hasn't helped other proposals get through the General Assembly. Unions, who say it's unfair to cut workers' benefits, want legislative leaders to attend a pension summit next month.