Illinois’ credit rating has taken another hit. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service downgraded the state from an “A” rating to “A-minus”, making it the worst in the country.
The New York ratings firm’s ranking means taxpayers may have to pay tens of millions of dollars more in interest when the state borrows money for roads and other projects.
The downgrade is the latest fallout over the $96.8 billion debt to five state pension systems.
The downgrade now ties Illinois with California, but California has a positive outlook.
Illinois’ fragile overall financial status netted it a negative outlook, putting it behind California overall.
The ratings came out now because Illinois plans to issue $500 million in bonds within days.
Responding to a bloodbath of violence over the weekend, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said Monday that he’s seeing an “uptick” in gang conflicts — and will soon provide beat cops with better information about gangs to stop retaliatory shootings. Gangs were responsible for almost all of the 37 shootings and nine murders from Friday through Sunday, McCarthy said. When he took over as superintendent almost a year ago, gangs represented about half the firearm violence, but now they’re to blame for more than 80 percent of it, McCarthy said. “They are splintering off into smaller gang factions and it’s getting more difficult for us to track and predict what’s going to happen next,” he said. via Mayor: City to do more to fight violence after bloody weekend – Chicago Sun-Times.
An indigenous native to the crime invested gangland provides an articulate analysis and offers a solution:
The problem, union supporters say, isn’t that the workers are getting too much but that state leaders have been shortchanging the system for a generation, avoiding tough budgetary choices in lean years by failing to make the pension fund payments they were supposed to make. The failure to adhere to that payment schedule, they say, is what dug the hole that some now want to fill by cutting workers’ benefits.