Moody's

Moody's Investors Service has placed six Illinois public universities on review for downgrade, impacting a total of approximately $2.2 billion of public university debt. According to a release issued by the company, the review is prompted by  "failure of the State of Illinois to enact a budget providing full operating funding to the universities for the current fiscal year 2017 and resulting operational and liquidity strains on the universities."

Illinois’ population losses are frequently cited in debates over the state’s tax rates and business laws.
Last year, Census figures show it was tied for the greatest rate of people leaving the state.

But Sarah Crane, with Moody’s Analytics, says a federal immigration crackdown could make it even worse.

"Any policies that severely curtail immigration will hurt the state's population growth even more than expected, in addition to labor force growth.”

FLICKR USER SPDUCHAMP (CREATIVE COMMONS)

Moody’s Analytics says Illinois is among the Midwest’s “weakest links.”  That’s according to a report prepared for the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability (the legislature's nonpartisan research group). 

State economist Ed Boss acknowledges that an economic downturn could undo any progress toward a balanced budget. 

“I think even though the forecast that Moody’s gives is for some improvement next year, it’s not much," he said. "It’s still a pretty dismal picture."

Moody's Investors Service downgraded the debt of Chicago Public Schools on the same day district teachers threatened to strike.

The group downgraded CPS's debt from B2 to B3, and called the district's financial condition "precarious" and "acute."  Monday from B2 to B3, Moody's called CPS' financial condition "precarious" and "acute." The new rating is one level above C, which Moody's describes as "speculative (and) of poor standing, and are subject to very high credit risk."

  The University of Illinois has received a relatively glowing financial report from Moody's Investor Service, but it comes with some caveats.  

The firm credits U of I leaders for having bolstered the school's balance sheet. The report says the school's brand and diverse revenue base -- for example, high demand from international students -- add credit stability that's helped to cushion state funding blows.  This includes the current budget impasse, which has resulted in public universities going nearly a year without funding.  

Pages