Rutherford reacts to S & P downgrade, said everything on table for pension reform

By Audrey Williams

August 29, 2012 Updated Aug 30, 2012 at 10:15 AM CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill -- Standard and Poor's Credit rating agency has downgraded Illinois rating and assigned a negative outlook to the state's financial outlook.

The downgrade changes Illinois' rating for general obligation bonds to "A" from "A+." That means when the state borrows money it will cost taxpayers more in interest.

This comes on the heels of last Friday's special session in which nothing was resolved regarding Illinois' under-funded pension systems.

State Treasurer Dan Rutherford (R) said drastic changes need to come to the pension systems and not a lot of people are going to like it.

"I'm encouraging the General Assembly and the Governor to come to a resolution on a choice system, changing the current defined benefit program, allowing one that if they continue into the current defined benefit that they pay a certain premium. If they want a different defined benefit, they pay a different premium. And a third will be what's termed as defined contribution, similar to what the private sector has had," Rutherford said.

Governor Pat Quinn said he will call legislative leaders to a meeting in early September to, again, try to reach a compromise on pension reform.

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