PERU, IL – State Sen. Sue Rezin (R-Morris) Standard & Poor’s decision to once again downgrade Illinois’ credit rating in the midst of budget and pension challenges will have serious consequences for taxpayers down the road.
Illinois has been dropped to an “A” with only California rated lower at A-minus. This is the tenth downgrade since Governor Quinn took office, and the thirteenth in the past 10 years. Illinois had six downgrades total from 1983 to 2003.
The low rating means a higher cost for residents of the state. It is estimated that the downgrade will cost Illinois taxpayers approximately $15 million per year.
“Our state has seen unprecedented government spending and borrowing over the last several years that has driven us to this point,” Sen. Rezin said. “The current state leadership failed to reform areas in our state budget that desperately needed it and now unfortunately our taxpayers are given the burden of paying for it.”
Standard & Poor’s noted that legislative gridlock in Illinois that has prevented meaningful pension reform to take place largely contributed to the downgrade. Sen. Rezin noted that the pension system has been mishandled for years, compounded by the partisan passing of Senate Bill 27 in 2005, which allowed the state to skip its pension payments of almost $4 billion. She says the state needs to rectify the actions of the past and pass reform so that the taxpayers in Illinois do not have to continually pay for the poor decisions the leaders in Illinois have made.
“We cannot continue to see our state suffer downgrade after downgrade,” Sen. Rezin said. “This is taking money away from paying the state’s bills and the essential services that the state provides, such as education, public safety, the disabled and more. We need to start thinking about how this is affecting taxpayers in Illinois, and what will happen if we continue with the same budget policies as we have in years past. This will invariably affect us all in many ways. Taxpayers should not suffer the consequences of inaction any longer. Sensible reform needs to happen now.”