Credit ratings agency S&P is out with new ratings on Illinois that criticize its “persistent crisis-like budget environment in recent years,” since Governor Bruce Rauner was elected. The report notes Illinois’ “uncommonly low” ratings among all states.
Rauner went longer than any Governor of any state without passing a budget, ballooning the state’s debt to $16 billion, from $5 billion when Rauner took office. In early July 2017, a bipartisan group of legislators overrode Rauner’s veto of a budget compromise, pointing to the toll the crisis took on the state’s finances, social services providers, and educational institutions.
Rauner has also failed to even propose a balanced budget. In May 2015, the nonpartisan fiscal watching, the Civic Federation, released a scathing report saying that Rauner’s FY 16 budget did not add up and would leave the state in worse shape. In May 2016, a Civic Federation report found Rauner’s FY 2017 budget was unbalanced by $3.5 billion.
Another agency, Moody’s, gave Illinois a “negative” outlook, based on Rauner’s “difficulties in implementing a balanced budget that will allow further reduction of its bill backlog,” according to a report.
Negative credit ratings impact the state’s ability to borrow, and increase interest costs on that borrowing dramatically.