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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A study contends that Illinois wears a "scarlet letter" when it borrows money - which has cost at least $80 million over a five-year period.
 
The review by the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs estimated the state's "risk premium" in selling bonds to raise money. This cost is on top of additional interest charges paid because of Illinois' worst-in-the-nation credit rating.
 
The study found that on bonds sold from 2005 to 2010, bond-buyers demanded the premium based only on the state's fiscal reputation. It notes the Prairie State's credit rating has fallen further since 2010.
 
Authors of the study collected data on all state general obligation bonds sold during the period and calculated interest charges above the extra paid based on credit rating.
Published in Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - A major credit-rating house has taken a more positive outlook on Illinois debt than it has in years after last week's pension-reform vote.

Standard & Poor's affirmed its A- rating on state debt backed by general tax revenue Tuesday but revised its outlook from "negative" to "developing."

The ratings agency says "developing" means the rating could be raised or lowered in the next two years. Analyst Robin Prunty says the change is positive but risk remains because workers unions will likely sue over the pension law Gov. Pat Quinn signed Thursday.

The law reduces state workers' contributions to pensions but cuts their benefits in a 30-year plan to erase a $100 billion retirement-account deficit.

Quinn promised in a statement it would be the "first of many positive developments" for Illinois.

 

Published in Local News

   Illinois Governor Pat Quinn wants lawmakers to return to Springfield later this month, but some legislators aren't sure why.  

   Quinn released a statement Thursday criticizing lawmakers for failing to address the state's nearly 100-billion dollar pension shortfall and calling a special session which begins June 19th. The announcement follows news that Moody's Investors Service is lowering Illinois' credit rating.  But a spokesman for House Speaker Michael Madigan says he believes the special session is to deal with guns, not pensions.

   Quinn is currently considering conceal-carry legislation that was passed last week.  Quinn hasn't said if he'll sign the plan. If he vetoes it, lawmakers could override the veto.

Published in Local News

Lambert Airport is being rewarded for what analysts are calling "prudent fiscal management".

The Fitch Ratings Agency upgraded the facilities credit rating to BBB+. The rating cited stability in air traffic and an adequate ability to meet financial commitments.

Fitch assigns ratings that range from D at the low end up to AAA. BBB+ is considered in to be at the high end of mid-grade investments.

 

Published in Local News
Governor Jay Nixon's plan to expand Medicaid in Missouri has encountered a new wrinkle of opposition from some lawmakers. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee raised concerns Monday that the Medicaid expansion could hurt the state's credit rating.

Missouri currently enjoys a triple-A rating.

But Moody's Investors Service last week assigned a negative outlook to Missouri because of the proportion of the state budget that already comes from the federally and state-funded Medicaid program.

If Missouri expands Medicaid eligibility as called for in the federal Healthcare Reform Act, it would get billions of dollars more from the federal government in coming years.
Published in Local News

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