Fitch downgrades Illinois credit rating

By WEEK Producer

June 3, 2013 Updated Jun 3, 2013 at 9:44 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois' credit rating is being downgraded again due to the state's inaction on pension reform.

Fitch Ratings said Monday it would drop the state's rating from "A'' to "A-" after both the Illinois House and Illinois Senate adjourned last week without a plan to pay for $100 billion in unfunded pension liability.

Governor Pat Quinn says he will call a special session to deal with the issue but some local legislators have a message for him. They say don't call them back unless House and Senate leaders have a negotiated deal on pension reform.

"We suffer from a great lack of leadership in this state," said State Representative Dave Leitch, (R) 73rd District. "As a consequence, we continue to spend more and more money, get worse and worse credit ratings."

A proposal from House Speaker Michael Madigan was approved by the Illinois House but did not pass in the Senate. Instead, Senate leader John Cullerton had his own version.

State Senator Dave Koehler says some felt Madigan's proposal would have been challenged as unconstitutional.

"What we don't want is we don't want changes in the pension laws to be deemed unconstitutional and then for us to have to start all over again," said Koehler, (D) 46th District.

Illinois already has the lowest credit rating in the nation. The lower rating means state agencies are required to pay more interest on borrowed money.

In addition to pension reform, legislators adjourned without voting on same sex marriage but they did approve a concealed carry bill. It is now on the Governor's desk.

He has until June 9 to approve it or a federal version will become law.

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