S&P calls the outlook for Illinois negative. (photo by Nathan Borro/flickr)
By The Associated Press
CHICAGO - Standard & Poor's rating services has lowered Illinois' credit rating, blaming the state's pension problems.
The New York-based agency said Friday that the rating on the state's general obligation bonds was downgraded to A- from A. The agency also gave an A- rating to $500 million in general obligation bonds that the state plans to release in February. The agency says the outlook is negative.
Standard & Poor's credit analysts say the downgrade reflects what the agency sees as the state's ``weakened pension-funded rations'' and lack of action on reform measures to improve the state's worst-in-the-nation pension crisis.
Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said Friday the state needs to get to the root of the problem.
"Until you stop the bleeding, you can't fix the patient," Rutherford said. "And we have to get it so that we get a fair and substantive resolution to these escalating payments into the pensions each year that continue to grow and grow."
Illinois has a $96 billion pension deficit.