S&P: Illinois is Approaching a Precipice From a Credit Standpoint (BBB Rating Coming?)

Here's what S&P had to say about Illinois' credit rating after Illinois' House failed to pass the Senate's pension reform bill on May 31. Moody's and Fitch both downgraded Illinois' general obligation bond rating last week. S&P still has Illinois' GO bonds rated at 'A-' with a negative outlook, but they recently warned that the state is "approaching a precipice from a credit standpoint."

Robin Prunty, Managing Director at S&P's U.S. Public Finance division, told S&P's CreditMatters TV that "they are coming up to a pretty critical juncture."

"Over the next year they have this pension reform issue that's obviously very significant and the pension funded ratios are expected to continue to deteriorate. They have this chronically high payables, although there is supposed to be some progress in lowering those this year. But, next year they also face a statutory reduction in their current personal and corporate income tax rates, which are going to open up significant gaps, $2 billion in the first year (fiscal 2014), and $4 billion roughly in fiscal 2015."

According to Springfield, Illinois' State Journal Register,

"The House plan saved the state an estimated $187 billion in pension payments over 30 years. It also cut the state’s pension debt by $21 billion and freed up nearly $2 billion in the state’s budget.

The Senate plan, meanwhile, cut only about $10 billion off the pension debt and saved only about a third as much as the House plan over 30 years."
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