Gov. Rauner Not Surprised At Bond Rating Drop

(CBS) – Wall Street issues its grade on the lack of an Illinois budget, and it has given both Gov. Bruce Rauner and Illinois lawmakers a big fat F.

Two ratings services have downgraded Illinois’ bond rating to one step above “junk” status.

The governor tells CBS 2 Political Reporter Derrick Blakley he’s not surprised.

Just one day after Illinois lawmakers left Springfield without approving a budget, Rauner’s spirits are still up. But Illinois debt ratings are down – again.

“I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s more ratings downgrades, there should be, because the majority in the General assembly won’t get a balanced budget and they won’t get changes to keep it balanced,” the Republican governor says.

Moody’s reduced Illinois’ bond rating, citing “a prolonged political impasse that has prevented progress.” Standard & Poor’s cut Illinois bonds to just one step above junk. — the lowest ever for any state – and blamed the political climate there.

No surprise to budget watchdogs.

“All the debt rating agencies told us we’ll move to junk status if we don’t raise new revenue and develop a responsible approach to our budget,” says Ralph Martire of the Illinois Center for Budget and Tax Accountability.

There were some bipartisan successes this session. With GOP support, Chicago Mayor Emanual got much-desired increases in sentences for repeat gun offenders. And Cook County Board President Tony Preckwinkle got a law to expunge records for teen offenders.

The shadow of Illinois fiscal disaster looms. The governor won’t rule out kicking the can down the road, once again.

“A stopgap (budget) is a mistake. We need a balanced budget and we can do this,” Rauner says.

Rauner advocates for a full-year budget compromise, but appears to be leaving room for a stopgap spending plan.

 

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