Observations and comments about state government by State Representative Robert W. Pritchard.
While there has been no ratings downgrade for Illinois’ massive debt, Moody’s rating service recently warned that states like Illinois that “issue debt to fund operating deficits or rely on short-term notes for seasonal cash flow needs may have greater exposure to risk”. This warning plus their insistence that our state would be more susceptible if a slowing economy pushed their budgets off balance, holds the potential for another downgrade.
In their statement, Moody’s claimed that spending on public retiree benefits is currently in an “unsustainable ascent,” and, according to them, has forced the state’s long-term liabilities to rise dramatically. The ratings agency predicted that pension payments will cause Illinois a “significant funding burden” if the temporary tax hike is allowed to expire in 2014.
Moody’s also chided Illinois for its growing list of unpaid bills, which it claimed “violates the spirit of a balanced-budget requirement.”
Clearly not understanding Moody’s statements, Governor Quinn continues his push to borrow billions more to pay off past-due bills. I agree with the Governor, however, that it’s long past time to pay our bills in a timely fashion and I am working in the legislature to find a solution. The first step in correcting our state’s fiscal policies was to stop spending more than we collect in revenue which we have done in this year’s budget.
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