Radogno, Cross statement on Standard and Poor's credit downgrade of Illinois
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Governor Pat Quinn set a new record for credit downgrades, when the credit rating agency Standard & Poor's lowered Illinois' credit rating Wednesday, Aug. 29. Since becoming Governor in 2009, Quinn has presided over 10 credit downgrades, which now represent more downgrades than the previous four governors combined.
While Quinn has lately been sounding alarms about the risk of a credit downgrade for Illinois, longtime fiscal conservatives point out that this is the same Governor who did little to avert nine previous credit downgrades during his first three years in office. As was expected from the S&P downgrade, the rating agency cited "the state's weak pension funding levels and lack of action on reform measures intended to improve funding levels..."
The rating agency also echoed longtime concerns raised by Senate Republicans that the state is not taking the steps necessary to plan for the expiration of the bulk of the 67 percent income tax increase enacted in 2011.
Putting the Quinn downgrades in perspective – in the 24 years prior to 2003, Governors Thompson, Edgar and Ryan saw a grand total of six credit downgrades from the three major credit rating agencies. In the six years he was in office, Rod Blagojevich presided over three credit downgrades. But, since taking office in 2009, Pat Quinn has now managed to rack up a record-breaking 10 credit downgrades. In fact, during his first 36 months in office, Quinn earned three times as many credit downgrades as Blagojevich earned in six years.
Certainly, no one should minimize the significance of credit downgrades, and it's both costly and embarrassing for Illinois to be at the bottom on the credit ratings. But, for Republican lawmakers who have been sounding the alarm bells for years, it's frustrating to be lectured by a Governor who blithely allowed the state's credit to tank.
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