Moody's criticizing new state budget

Jun 4, 2014

The credit rating agency Moody's is criticizing the Illinois state budget passed last week. As IPR's Brian Mackey reports, this is not a surprise to government officials.

Moody's says because Illinois did not extend higher income tax rates, it could have to rely on what it calls "credit negative" practices. Illinois already has the lowest credit rating of any state in the country. Moody's isn't lowering it further, at least not for now.

At the end of session last week, Senate President John Cullerton said his Democratic caucus was ready to extend the tax rate.

"I don't know how you can blame us or the governor for a negative bond rating, when the Republicans are the ones saying, 'Don't raise the taxes, we don't need that. Make structural changes,' whatever that means."

The money from the higher tax rate, passed in 2011, has been used to pay down pension debt and a backlog of bills to cities, public universities, and vendors that perform services for the state.

Moody's says the "unbalanced" spending plan could undo "significant progress" Illinois has made toward improving its finances.