S&P lowers Illinois' Credit Rating

By WEEK Reporter

January 25, 2013 Updated Jan 28, 2013 at 12:45 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- Friday, Standard & Poor's rating service lowered Illinois' credit rating to A-minus.

This action puts Illinois at the bottom of the fifty-states, sharing the A-minus rating with California.

Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford says the end result is that it's going to cost the state more to borrow money for building and maintaining capital projects.

The Moody's rating service downgraded Illinois' rating in December.

Rutherford said the state is headed for a fiscal disaster, and it is imperative the Governor and General Assembly address the issue.

He said both tax increases and severe budget cuts need to be on the table.

"I am not for tax revenue coming into the state. I am not for further taxes or fees, but in order to be rational about what we have to deal with; put it on the table. I've negotiated contracts for 25 years and one thing I've learned is you don't say 'yes' to one thing and hope the rest of it comes along," said Rutherford.

Rutherford says "everything on the table" would include reducing cost-of-living increases on state pensions, a "means test" for state-paid health insurance for retirees, or even the implementation of a self-directed retirement system---such as a 401K program.

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