Treasurer blasts state's credit rating; cites legislature failure

By Anna Yee

Treasurer blasts state's credit rating; cites legislature failure

January 14, 2013 Updated Jan 14, 2013 at 5:42 PM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. -- Illinois' debt is growing larger each day, and the state treasurer is warning if the Governor and General Assembly don't act soon, taxpayers will pay even more.

On Monday, Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford released a timeline showing the evolution of the state's sinking bond ratings.

He points out Illinois' credit ratings have been downgraded or lowered seven times since 2011, targeting various entities including the state's public universities ratings and even Illinois' General Obligation bonds.

Rutherford says that's a direct result of the legislature's failure to meet pension reform deadlines over the past two years.

"Because of a lower bond rating or a watch, it will cost that student in a residence hall, us as general taxpayers... It'll cost more just to pay for interest," said Rutherford.

"The problem with Illinois is not Illinois," he continued. "The problem with Illinois is the leadership we've got. And this is where this session of this General Assembly must act if we're going to be able to put ourselves in a financially sound situation for the future."

Treasurer Rutherford suggests lawmakers put together a new pension reform plan that "puts everything on the table," including changes to all state public pensions.

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