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Illinois downgrade costly, says treasurer

Jan. 26, 2013 at 12:39 PM   |   Comments

CHICAGO, Jan. 26 (UPI) -- Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford said the state's Standard & Poor's credit downgrade would cost taxpayers $95 million more in borrowing costs.

"It's absolutely bad news for taxpayers," Rutherford said.

The Chicago Tribune reported Saturday that Illinois currently has the lowest credit rating of all 50 states. S&P dropped its rating to "A" to "A-minus," which matches California, except for the point that California's rating is listed as positive and Illinois's is listed as negative, meaning it will be soon be subject to another review with the expectation that it will drop.

Illinois plans to issue $500 million in bonds next week. Rutherford said a top rating of AAA would save taxpayers $95 million, although that number is subject to change that relies on how strong a demand the bond sale attracts.

The other two major credit rating firms, Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, have Illinois rated at 50th and 49th, respectively, out of the 50 states.

Among the state's fiscal dilemmas is a $96.8 billion shortfall with five state pension systems, the Tribune said.

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