Fitch lowers Illinois' credit rating due to budget 'failure'

Fitch lowers Illinois' credit rating due to budget 'failure'

CHICAGO (KFVS/AP) - A major credit rating agency has again downgraded Illinois' rating, citing the "unprecedented failure" to approve a state budget.

Fitch Ratings lowered the rating Wednesday on nearly $26 billion of general obligation bonds from BBB+ to BBB. That's a few levels above "junk" status.

Illinois already has the worst rating of any state. The lower rating means taxpayers pay more when Illinois borrows money.

A policy analyst at Southern Illinois University explained what this means for you.

"The average family in may mean that opportunities for job...things like that...may pass us by to go to, let's say, Indiana, Missouri, some other place where their state finances are in much better shape," said Jak Tichenor, interim director at SIU Public Policy Institute.

He said that with Illinois already being the worst rating in any state, this credit is a further sign that we have a "crisis of confidence" in the way we are running the state of Illinois in regards to our finances.

Fitch Ratings noted lawmakers haven't passed a budget for two consecutive years and spending is occurring at levels "far in excess" of what the state is bringing in.

The agency says even if efforts in the Illinois Senate to pass a budget deal are successful the prolonged inaction "has fundamentally weakened the state's financial profile."

Fitch warns another downgrade would be warranted if the issue isn't resolved.

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Copyright 2017 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press also contributed to this story.