More responses are coming into Illinois Review regarding the S&P's decision to downgrade Illinois' rating. Standard's points to Illinois' refusal to deal with their unfunded obligations as the main reason for their move.
During press availability in Tampa Florida at the RNC Convention, House Minority Leader Tom Cross and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno issued the following statement:
“When the Democrats adjourned the special session on pensions two weeks ago, we stood together and said we should not leave Springfield until we pass comprehensive pension reform to address our crisis. We continue to be ready to address the problem, armed with ideas and solutions that could work. We cannot wait until after the election, or even after the Governor’s grassroots’ tour. The time for action is now. S&P’s downgrade today cited our ‘lack of action on reform measures’. This is a clear signal that we must work on a comprehensive bill that solves our pension problem—not a piecemeal approach. The blame game must end, let’s get to work.”
And State Representative Sid Mathias writes:
"S&P has downgraded Illinois’ credit rating because Springfield has done nothing to reform a pension system that is in massive debt and is entirely unsustainable. We’re playing chicken with a freight train, and we wonder why we keep losing. We went down to Springfield two weeks ago under the guise of achieving pension reform, knowing full well that if we did nothing our credit rating would take a hit, and yet we were sent home without addressing this $85 billion unfunded liability. I called on my colleagues to no longer kick the can down the road and instead to stay in session for as long as it took to finally achieve pension reform, to no avail.
"Unfortunately, it is the people of Illinois who lose in this scenario. Thanks to this credit downgrade, it will be more expensive to build schools and fix roads. It also puts us one step closer to bond markets closing to Illinois, a devastating result that was unimaginable just a few years ago. We must stop playing political games while daring credit rating agencies to take action against us. It’s time to come together to find an equitable solution to this pension mess, rescuing our children from this back-breaking debt while removing the uncertainty for Illinois workers."
More to come ...