Moody's Investors Service

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Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A pair of credit rating agencies on Tuesday issued warnings on the finances of both the state of Illinois and its largest city.

Susana Mendoza speaks to people attending a women's march outside the Illinois Capitol
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

Illinois lawmakers from both parties have been bragging about passing a balanced budget this year, but Comptroller Susana Mendoza says the state still needs to address more than $7 billion in unpaid bills.

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Sean Crawford talks with the State Journal-Register Business Editor Tim Landis.

Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois

A day after the Illinois General Assembly ended it’s spring session without passing a budget, two bond rating agencies have downgraded the state’s credit.

The actions, by S&P Global Ratings and Moody's Investors Service, leave state government debt just one step above “junk” status.

The Quad, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
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Six of Illinois’ state universities have been put on notice for credit downgrades. It’s the latest knock on state government after more than 21 months without a full budget.

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A report says the outlook for the Illinois economy is bleak.

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Full show including:

  • DOJ Finds Civil Rights Abuses in Chicago Police Department
  • As City Prepares to Borrow $1.2B, Mayor Asks Moody’s to Withdraw Ratings
  • Kurt Vonnegut Artwork Finds New Home at Chicago Veterans Museum

University of Illinois Public Affairs

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

In a just-released report, Moody's analysts commend administrators for having years ago prepared to weather fiscal storms like the one higher education's facing now.

The state of Illinois may have the nation's worst credit rating. But its largest public university system -- the University of Illinois -- gets a far better grade.

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It's a rare occurrence of late: A credit rating agency saying something positive about Illinois' finances. But the comment published Tuesday by Moody's Investor Service was tempered.

Illinois could end up having to put an additional half billion dollars into one of its pension funds next year.

As the name suggests, the Teachers Retirement System is the retirement benefits fund for all Illinois public school teachers outside of Chicago.

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Illinois' fiscal health continues to tumble, in the eyes of the analysts who assign credit ratings.

Moody's. S&P. Fitch. All three of the nation's big credit rating agencies have taken notice of the state's ongoing budget impasse.

None are impressed with what they're seeing. 

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  A new analysis found that Illinois lost out on millions of dollars when it sold bonds last week. 

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Illinois could see its already worst-in-the-nation credit rating sink further -- all the way down to "junk" status. Moody's Vice President Ted Hampton says investors have asked the ratings agency if that's even possible.

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Illinois has twice seen its credit rating take a hit this week.

Amanda Vinicky / WUIS / Illinois Issues

A credit analyst with Moody's says Illinois' bond rating will remain unchanged, despite the state entering its third month without a budget. But the chances of a downgrade increase the longer gridlock continues.

Illinois has the nations' lowest credit rating -- a grade that symbolizes its fiscal troubles, and adds to them; a lower score makes it costlier to borrow.

But the rating won't drop any further just yet.

Amanda Vinicky / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

Credit ratings agencies have had swift reactions to Friday's state Supreme Court decision that found Illinois' 2013 pension law unconstitutional.

Illinois' was expecting to save billions by reducing state workers, teachers' and university employees' retirement benefits. But not anymore, thanks to an unanimous decision by the state's high court tossing the law.

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Tonya Hilliard

Last year, Illinois was one of a handful of states that lost population. More than 90,000 people moved elsewhere.  It became a campaign issue for Governor when then candidate Bruce Rauner criticized the state's lack of friendliness to business. And it has others  throwing up caution flags.   The numbers don't mean mean there is a crisis, or even a real clamor, to leave the state.                     

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A major credit rating agency has come out with a blunt assessment of Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposed budget for Illinois.

The budget Rauner presented last week calls for massive cuts in state spending -- without any increase in taxes.

Moody's Investor Service dismisses the chance that parts, let alone all, of the plan will ever become a reality.

Amanda Vinicky

Credit ratings agencies have taken notice of the court ruling on Friday that tossed out Illinois’ law reducing workers’ pensions. But they’re not worried enough to lower the state’s rating.

Illinois’ credit rating remains unaffected by last week’s court ruling, which found a landmark pension law to be unconstitutional. But agencies are watching.

Credit ratings are important as, the lower the rating, the more it costs the state to borrow.

It’s also an important indicator of a state’s relative fiscal health.

ILGA.gov

A new report from Moody's investors service says Illinois still faces "daunting pension challenges" despite a 2013 law intended to curb the state's pension costs. So do its cities. 

The Moody's report lays it out starkly: Illinois' pension burden is significantly higher than other states. And yet Illinois' legal framework gives "very limited" flexibility for dealing with that.

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It’s expected to be some time before the courts decide whether Illinois can trim retirement benefits for public school teachers, university workers, and state employees. But the uncertainty continues to affect the credit outlook of schools and community colleges across the state.  

John Cullerton
Brian Mackey / NPR Illinois | 91.9 UIS

The credit rating agency Moody's says Illinois is at risk of undermining progress toward better finances. It says the failure to extend current income tax rates could lead to a worsening deficit.

Moody's says because lawmakers failed to stop an automatic tax cut scheduled for the end of the year, Illinois could have to increase its backlog of unpaid bills. The state already has the lowest credit rating in the nation.

Republicans say this shows Illinois needs to further reduce costs, but Democratic Senate President John Cullerton says there isn't that much left to cut.

Jamey Dunn
mattpenning.com 2014 / WUIS/Illinois Issues

McGraw-Hill, the parent company of the world’s largest credit rating agency, Standard and Poor’s, was slapped with lower bond ratings than the state of Illinois in February.