They moved us from an A to an A-. So, now we have the lowest credit score of any state in the country. They say it's because we've gotten into too much debt, and now we have to pay the price.
"If you step back and you look at our financial situation from any type of objective analysis, we are a very poor credit-worthy state."
Credit rating agencies agree. They've been warning lawmakers for months; fix pensions or face a downgrade. Now, they're saying, "enough is enough."
The latest blow to the state's credit, leaves us at a negative. That's lower than any other state in the country. It means taxpayers will have to cough up a lot more cash when it comes to paying back borrowed money down the road.
"It's not like it comes out of your pocketbook today. It comes out of the pocketbooks of tomorrow's taxpayers. It's coming out of that 16-year old kid who's just now getting his driver's license."
The downgrade comes just days before the state's supposed to take out a half-billion dollars in bond sales. Now, we'll have to pay it off with interest near 20%.
"Our estimate is compared to where we are today, compared to a Triple A rating. It will cost the taxpayers about $95 million more in interest than if we had a better bond rating."
S&P and others are keeping a close watch on Illinois. We have a negative credit outlook, meaning we're likely to see another downgrade soon if lawmakers can't find a way out of our state's financial mess.
"It's when you have to come in and find $341 million in cuts. I think that's when it's going to hit home to the General Assembly that this is the absolute number one issue that has to be resolved in this capital city."
All of our state leaders say fixing the budget is at the top of the to-do list. But, experts say, even if they figure something out, it will be years before we can build ourselves back up to a top credit rating.