Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services again has threatened the state of Illinois to get their financial mess in order or else it will downgrade their bond ratings. Once you are downgraded, your borrowing rates go up making it more expensive to borrow. That means more of their yearly budget will be diverted to paying off interest and debt.
The credit rating agency affirmed the state’s worst-in-the-nation A- bond rating, but its outlook, which had been raised to “developing” earlier this year after enactment of pension reforms, went back to negative.
That means that the state’s credit rating could be downgraded within the next two years unless its finances improve, S&P said. A lower credit rating translates into higher borrowing costs.
Illinois biggest issue is their health pension system which is not sound financially. The Illinois Supreme Court recently had this to say:
“The Illinois Supreme Court was clear in its opinion that the health insurance subsidies paid by the state for retiree health care are a benefit derived from membership in a state pension plan and therefore subject to the Illinois Constitution,” S&P said.
S&P has stated that if the state comes to together for serious reform, then it would most likely revisit upgrading their status. Illinois has a big backlog of bills that already need paid and their most recent budget enacted will produce more deficits. They have used many gimmicks to reassure vendors/creditors in collecting tax revenue while doing bad borrowing schemes in the form of borrowing against future sales tax revenue.
I do not see Illinois changing its bad habits anytime soon.