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Topinka: Taxpayers Should Be Worried About Credit Downgrade For Illinois

Judy Baar Topinka (Photo From Judy Baar Topinka Website)

Judy Baar Topinka (Photo From Judy Baar Topinka Website)

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TAMPA, Fla. (CBS) — Illinois Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka says people should be very fearful about the downgrading of the state’s bond rating by Standard & Poor’s.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports from the Republican National Convention in Tampa.

Topinka is usually the most energetic cheerleader for the Illinois delegation at Republican conventions. She’s excited about what is happening in Tampa.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore Reports


However, she says she is very worried about what is happening at home.

She says the bond rating downgrade puts Illinois just a step above California, which she calls the bottom of the bucket.

“It sends out signals to businesses all over the world that there is uncertainty in Illinois,” she said. “So why would you invest here, why would you start a business, why would you maintain a business? Frankly, why would you live in Illinois? You cannot be sure what the legislature is going to do.”

The lower its rating, the more interest a state must pay when it borrows money by selling bonds.

Standard & Poor’s said its decision is based on weak funding for government pensions and a “lack of action on reform measures.”

Illinois retirement systems have a huge gap between the money available and what they’ll eventually pay out in pensions. The roughly $85 billion shortfall is the largest in the country.

Gov. Quinn called legislators into special session last week, but they couldn’t agree on what to do, largely because of a dispute about whether to transfer some pension costs to school districts.