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Moody’s calls “unbalanced budget” a “credit negative”

Tuesday, Jun 3, 2014

* I just got an e-mail from Moody’s with the headline “Illinois Risk of Accounts Payable Growth Caused by Unbalanced Budget is Credit Negative”…

Moody’s has issued a short comment detailing the State of Illinois’ (rated A3/negative outlook) failure to extend income tax rates sunseting on Dec. 31 will reduce revenues in the next fiscal year by an estimated $1.8 billion (4.7%), leading to a structural deficit that could cause the lowest-rated state to rely on credit negative practices. This could include increasing an already large backlog of unpaid bills to achieve balanced financial operations, reversing the progress of recent years.

Illinois has used an estimated $26 billion of increased income tax revenues since 2011 to address its pension contribution requirements and to reduce a large backlog of payments to vendors, municipalities, public universities and other entities. The $5.6 billion backlog the governor’s budget estimated for June 30, 2014, would represent a 43% drop from a $9.9 billion peak set in 2010. Renewed growth in the backlog could put financial pressure on rated entities, such as public universities, awaiting payment from the state. Maintaining pre-existing tax rates was central to a five-year plan included with the governor’s budget that showed accounts payable falling to a more manageable $2.2 billion in fiscal 2019. Such gains will become harder if the fiscal 2015 budget encourages bill payment deferrals.

If not reversed or offset in some way, the expected tax revenue losses will be more pronounced in fiscal 2016 and beyond. According to the governor’s three-year financial forecast released in January, if income tax rates decline and no offsetting actions are implemented, the backlog would almost triple to $16.2 billion in the next three years.

Moody’s declaration of “credit positive” or “credit negative” does not connote a rating or outlook change. It is indicative of the impact of a distinct event or development as one of many credit factors affecting the issuer.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


51 Comments
  1. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 11:38 am:

    For this state it always seems like a third party is required to “do the math”. Ugh.


  2. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 11:44 am:

    For anyone who wants to let the temporary income tax expire, please use this forum to =detail= how you would cut $3.2 billion. And please list the percentage cut for each program being reduced, and what programmatic / headcount reductions would be required. Thank you.


  3. - Mister Whipple - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 11:51 am:

    Income taxes in nearby states:

    MI 4.25%
    IA 8.98% (top rate in tiered structure)
    KY 6% (top rate in tiered structure)
    MO: 6% (top rate in tiered structure)
    WI: 7.65% (top rate in tiered structure)
    IN: 3.4% (BUT EVERY COUNTY imposes its own income tax of 1% or more; some as high 2.5%)

    So explain to me again how a rate of 5% is going to drive jobs elsewhere.


  4. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 11:56 am:

    @anyone remember
    =For anyone who wants to let the temporary income tax expire, please use this forum to =detail= how you would cut $3.2 billion. And please list the percentage cut for each program being reduced, and what programmatic / headcount reductions would be required. Thank you.=

    I’ve got a better idea. For anyone who wants to make the tenmporary tax permanent, please use this forum to detail which state spending is unable to be reduced, why Illinois public education can’t be delivered at the same cost per student as Texas (whose students outperform ours academically) to save $6.3 billion per year, why we can’t live with an average teacher salary of $48K per year as is the case in Teaxas instead of the $55K per year average for nine moonths we pay for in Illinois, why we keep on unnecessarily bloating school and public construction labor costs through the “Prevailing Wage Act”, why the state is paying for end of career spikes that add as much as 16% to pension costs ABOVE what employees have contributed over their careers to “earn” this higher pension rate, why we still are handing out grants like the “anti-violence” boondoggle for hundreds of millions of dollars each year, and why we’re doing a $31 billion “capital program” for much unecessary and low value construction work in Illinois we could easily do without.

    The rate going to 3.75% next year is the law of the land. The burden of proof here is on you to show why all NECESSARY stste services can’t be provided without increasing it.

    I anxiously await your response.


  5. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 11:57 am:

    Mister Whipple

    Found this interesting …

    http://www.stltoday.com/business/columns/david-nicklaus/missouri-is-a-chronic-economic-underachiever/article_3dd6072b-7f03-5d47-927c-dbb9b0a9e5f4.html


  6. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:03 pm:

    @ Mister Whipple
    =So explain to me again how a rate of 5% is going to drive jobs elsewhere.=

    Because our real estate taxes are already amongst the highest in the nation. A national highest 65% of all school funding is collected locally. We have a tort and workmen’s comp system that is double to triple the cost of neighboring states.

    Our labor boards and laws are skewed so heavily in the unions favor that companies using large manufacturing labor forces are impossibly burdened to produce here.

    When you’re already overtaxed or hit with fees far above average in just about every other area, increasing the income tax even close to the level of states without those other burdens is the straw that broke the camels back.

    Here endeth the lesson.


  7. - Griz - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    When legislators are more concerned with elections than the business of the state this is what we get. The tax increase is coming, man up and stabilize this state and economy. This roller coaster ride down the tube has got to stop! Who in their right mind would invest here or live here with this kind of leadership at the Capitol.


  8. - Hit or Miss - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:04 pm:

    I wonder what Fitch and S&P will say? Will they also say that Illinois should receive only a “credit negative” or will they think that yet another credit downgrade is more appropriate?


  9. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    Quinn should call the GA back this month to pass a balanced budget, or make liberal use of the veto pen, or extend the sunset on the income tax. I guess the GOP can be dumb enough to not compromise on the income tax but then the GOP may well be the party in power to have to manage state finances come January. I wonder if the Repubs have a Red Team looking at their options.


  10. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:05 pm:

    Using Blago’s destructive budgeting techniques will earn us another downgrade or two. Many legislators who voted for this budget were criticizing and swearing off these tactics just a few years ago. Legislators know this is trouble just as well as the ratings agencies do, yet they supported it anyhow.

    This was the easiest option for them, but the worst option for the state. Raise taxes? Cut deeper? Or go back to our old tricks that caused this mess and blow a massively deeper hole in next year’s budget? Terrible.


  11. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    Arizona Bob

    The proceeds of the temporary tax increase? Dan Rutherford, WBBM, April 23, 2012:

    “He says the problem is so bad that the recent 66 percent income tax increase only covers the
    money needed for pensions and does nothing for the state’s backlog of unpaid bills.”

    http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/04/23/rutherford-tough-road-ahead-for-quinns-pension-plan/

    As has been noted here by others far wiser than me, if we renege on Edgar’s 1995 pension law ramp-up, Wall Street will truly make the State’s credit rating akin to Detroit or Greece’s.


  12. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:12 pm:

    A guy - Hilarious comment coming from you. Governor Quinn repeatedly warned of the consequences of not keeping the current rate. If you could read, you’d see that Moody’s refers to the Governor’s math.

    Meanwhile you’re schilling for Rauner who’s offered no specifics, including math. Is it hard to separate from reality so completely?


  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:13 pm:

    You knew that was coming. The rating agencies have gotten religion since they started getting heat after the sub-prime meltdown.

    Back in the day, they didn’t really care about unbalanced budgets as long as you kept issuing debt and paying fees.

    For example, Moody’s rated the state’s GO debt Aa2 or Aa3 under the renowned fiscal stewardship of Blago.


  14. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    ==For this state it always seems like a third party is required to “do the math”. Ugh.==

    And the third party is saying keep the tax increase.


  15. - Arizona Bob - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    @anyone remember

    And exactly where is Dan Rutherford today, Anyone?

    The guy believes that government should take as much resources as it can from the people, and the resources be used to politically empower those in the government. Dillard thinks the same.

    Who KNOWS what Rauner thinks?


  16. - NoBody's Perfect - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:19 pm:

    Hey gotta wonder why anyone even open’s email from Moody’s (or the other rating agencies) Never forget they were the co-pilots with the predatory lenders and other Wall Street scammers (Friends of Bruce) who bagged the world economy in ‘08.
    As soon we are done asking ShakeyMitt Rauner if he wants to repeal h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l marriage lets ask what view was the predators ramp up to the -08 depression — did he short the market and score or was earning less. Bet he was short.


  17. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:20 pm:

    The ball is in Quinn’s court.
    We’ll see if he is better able to handle it than he already has shown an inability to handle it.

    He is the governor now. Make it work for you Pat, or step aside.


  18. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:24 pm:

    ==The ball is in Quinn’s court.==

    The ball is in the legislature’s court. They make the laws. The power comes from the Illinois Constitution. There is a law that the governor has to give them a budget plan. He gave them one that said to keep the tax increase. They said no with one party even refusing to consider the question. This is the legislature’s fault.


  19. - Formerly Known As... - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:26 pm:

    Our personal income tax rate prior to the “temporary” tax increase was 3%. Under current law, the rate goes to 3.75% on January 1 2015 and then 3.25% beginning January 1 2025. A “permanent” tax increase was already locked in when this “temporary” bill was passed.

    Higher rates, alongside an improved economy and 4 years at 5%, should have gotten us better than this.


  20. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:27 pm:

    And when the court rules the pension reduction bill unconstitutional, the bottom really falls out. Budget cuts, higher taxes, and more people and business moving out of state. The writing is on the wall. Elect the same people and it keeps getting worse!


  21. - From the 'Dale to HP - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:29 pm:

    @Arizona Bob, Illinois decided long ago to have low income taxes in exchange for higher property taxes. Give ‘em low income taxes, they complain about paying too much in sales and property taxes. Give ‘em low property taxes, they complain about high income and sales taxes.

    The reality is that the total tax rate for each state does not vary all that much, it’s just a matter of how they get you.

    Also, your statement about Texas students out performing Illinois students is misleading since it’s flat out incorrect depending on grade level/assessment.


  22. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:35 pm:

    AZ Bob I agree with a lot of your rant actually, but I want to address this…

    why we can’t live with an average teacher salary of $48K per year as is the case in Teaxas instead of the $55K per year average for nine moonths we pay for in Illinois,

    Lets use some math first on this

    Personal Income per capita from 2008 (the year I found numbers for quickly via google)

    Texas 37,774
    Illinois 42,347

    So on average, the average person in Illinois makes 4,5763 a year more, so that might have something to do with the difference.

    Perhaps the greatest irony is that your 55K number just about matches the national median for secondary teachers… 55,360

    http://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes252031.htm

    So it would appear that when it comes down to we may be underpaying compared to the national average…

    But lets look at the greedy teachers some more shall we.

    http://www.isbe.net/research/pdfs/teacher_salary_13-14.pdf

    The lowest a school district will pay a teacher in Illinois with a bachelors degree is…

    $23,879 or about 3,000 more than if they took a 40 hour a week job for 52 weeks at 10 an hour or 4G less than I got paid with my BS in 1991..

    Also using table 4 of the same report, in order to make over 55K on average a teacher in Illinois has to have a masters degree and max experience..

    Even worse dude a new teacher in Texas has to be paid at least 27,320 a year (note that is 5G more than the Illinois minimum)

    http://www.tea.state.tx.us/index2.aspx?id=25769806050

    Also the Texas average is 49K
    http://www.tasb.org/Services/HR-Services/Salary-Surveys/documents/tchr_highlights_landing.aspx


  23. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    Ty, did you call then again?


  24. - Norseman - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:37 pm:

    Oops “them”


  25. - Edron - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:41 pm:

    “…why Illinois public education can’t be delivered at the same cost per student as Texas (whose students outperform ours academically) to save $6.3 billion per year…”

    What a bunch of hogwash! Illinois has a better graduation rate (IL - 80.4%, TX 73.4%), better ACT scores (IL - 100% of Juniors tested, 20.9 composite score; TX - 39% of Juniors tested, 20.8% tested), and doesn’t flipflop on educational initiatives like NCLB and Common Core as the Cowpoke state. Go back to Arizona with better figures!!!


  26. - Just Trying to Survive - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:54 pm:

    AZ Bob is consistent with his anti-Education rants. You’d think he got kicked out of school or flunked out. Or did he just feed at the trough and get “his” and now he doesn’t want to participate in the system for anyone else?


  27. - forwhatitsworth - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:59 pm:

    Shocking!


  28. - Wally - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 1:08 pm:

    For fair comparison, what are real estate taxes and sales taxes in the surrounding states? How about gas prices? Gas in St. Louis is constantly 20-25 cents a gallon less than Central IL and probably 50 cents a gallon less compared to Chicago.


  29. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 1:15 pm:

    Heck Wally there was an 80 difference in price between what I saw on the tollway at the DeKalb plaza on Sunday and I saw in Chicago today taking a walk.


  30. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 1:16 pm:

    Arizona Bob

    From FY 2008 to FY 2014, the pension contribution increased from $1.5 Billion to $6.0 Billion, a $4.5 Billion increase. The proceeds from the temporary income tax increase are $3.2 Billion, which means the rest of the budget was decreased by $1.3 Billion (hello cuts in the school aid formula). And headcount is down from approximately 55 thousand when Blago left to 50 thousand now. Again, where would =you= cut?


  31. - PolPal56 - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 1:30 pm:

    Reminder - the pension contribution increase is primarily due to paying back the money the legislature took from the funds in the 90’s.


  32. - Anyone Remember - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 1:40 pm:

    PolPal56

    =Reminder - the pension contribution increase is primarily due to paying back the money the legislature took from the funds in the 90’s.=

    And it is enshrined in Jim Edgar’s 1995 pension ramp-up law that Wall Street is so enamored of.


  33. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 1:45 pm:

    We’ve had one party rule in Illinois for over a decade. So, obviously that doesn’t work.

    Time to replace them all.


  34. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:08 pm:

    ===Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 12:17 pm:

    ==For this state it always seems like a third party is required to “do the math”. Ugh.==

    And the third party is saying keep the tax increase.====

    Lots of third parties are saying this, especially the ones who sign the back of the checks from the state of Illinois.

    I’m sure Moody’s is looking for a more coherent and forward thinking plan than “collect more”. They might take some issue with the spending. Just a thought.


  35. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:13 pm:

    –I’m sure Moody’s is looking for a more coherent and forward thinking plan than “collect more”. They might take some issue with the spending.–

    I’ve never read a rating agency report that took issue with an area of spending, and I’ve read plenty. They’re all about revenues and coverage of debt service.


  36. - Demoralized - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    ==I’m sure Moody’s is looking for a more coherent and forward thinking plan than “collect more”.==

    I’m sure they might be looking for a plan that doesn’t collect less though.


  37. - Anon - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:20 pm:

    == our real estate taxes are already among the highest in the nation ==

    The lion’s share of property taxes goes to public education. Because this state provides the lowest proportion of K-12 funding of any state, IL school rely upon property taxes more than most. Of course AZ Bob wants state funding to drop sharply, so property tax relief ain’t in the cards — just the opposite!


  38. - Anon - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:28 pm:

    Why is it that when it came to pensions, the rating agencies were considered a highly respected authority whose views should be followed, but when it came to extending the tax hike, suddenly their opinion doesn’t matter?


  39. - Name Withheld - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:35 pm:

    Has anyone checked to see if Ty Fahner called some of his “friends” again?


  40. - facts are stubborn things - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:42 pm:

    We get the government we deserve. The reason the house would not extend the tax increase is members felt if they voted for it they would be out of office. If legislaturs cut programs they will be out of office. We want a blue state but only want to pay red taxes. The people need to decide if we want more/less services and then ajust the tax rate to pay for that level.


  41. - OneMan - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:57 pm:

    Hey gotta wonder why anyone even open’s email from Moody’s (or the other rating agencies) Never forget they were the co-pilots with the predatory lenders and other Wall Street scammers (Friends of Bruce) who bagged the world economy in ‘08.
    As soon we are done asking ShakeyMitt Rauner if he wants to repeal h-o-m-o-s-e-x-u-a-l marriage lets ask what view was the predators ramp up to the -08 depression — did he short the market and score or was earning less. Bet he was short.

    Wow.. where to start here, nice way to turn into a Bruce slam in part. Because when it comes down to it, everything is Bruce’s fault including the heartbreak of dandrif.

    As for why do they even open the e-mails…

    Well, to start with, they are basically one of the two major entities that rate public debt. So there is that small little fact.

    More importantly, there are several investment entities (funds, organizations, etc.) that have constraints on investments based on ratings. That is they can only invest in fixed income securities (bonds) that have at least a given rating from the major bond agencies. So the worse your rating gets the fewer of these entities there are to invest.

    Also in general a lower credit rating results in a higher cost of borrowing money for the state. The state hasn’t had a hard time finding folks to buy it’s debt. But it is still paying a decent rate

    %4.46 on debt sold in Feb
    http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304450904579367111455944866

    So compare that to other states or for that matter home interest rates. It is about what you can get on a 30 year home loan right now.


  42. - olddog - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 3:39 pm:

    @ Arizona Bob — all these rants about the billions we can allegedly save on education remind me of a story …

    There’s a shipwreck, and a teacher, a taxpayer and the CEO of a private equity firm all swim out to a lifeboat. The lifeboat has 12 lifejackets, and the CEO grabs 11 of them. So he shouts at the taxpayer, “Hey, that teacher’s going to steal your lifejacket.”


  43. - illlinifan - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 3:41 pm:

    Annonymous…”elect the same people it will get worse” but what happens if we elect someone who won’t tell us what he will do until he is elected…..we may not know what worse is.


  44. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 3:44 pm:

    Now that Desert Bobby has been destroyed with facts by OneMan, Edron, and Anyone Remember, expect him to disappear until tomorrow when he will return with another fact-free rant on how teacher strikes, the few that happen per year in Illinois, are killing our budget!


  45. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 4:21 pm:

    To the deleted commenters: Stick to the topic at hand or leave.


  46. - A guy... - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 4:29 pm:

    == Demoralized - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 2:19 pm:

    ==I’m sure Moody’s is looking for a more coherent and forward thinking plan than “collect more”.==

    I’m sure they might be looking for a plan that doesn’t collect less though.===

    Let’s agree on this: they’d like to see a real “balanced budget”.


  47. - Elizabeth Austin - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 5:14 pm:

    Why am I not seeing Ty Fahner out drumming up support for the tax increase? I thought all he cared about was our bond rating….


  48. - kayaker - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 6:07 pm:

    Frankly you could not pay me enough to be a teacher I think Arizona Bob should stay out west he obviously does not like it here


  49. - Angry Chicagoan - Tuesday, Jun 3, 14 @ 7:30 pm:

    I was really worried about the tax hike when it came in, but in truth, the impact hasn’t been that bad, and seeing the state’s finances gradually heal has been more than worth it.

    I have not seen a single valid comment in this thread that would support a 3.75 percent rate. We need five percent, and even allowing for suburban property taxes there just isn’t a competitiveness issue with neighboring states. Promising Wisconsin government, even in its somewhat shrunken Walkerized condition, for a Mississippi price isn’t going to work. It will ultimately cost Illinois more — much more — in dysfunction, bad infrastructure, bad services, and interest payments.

    In the end, if you want to encourage me to consider living in Indiana and commuting in, let the tax rate revert to 3.75. If you want me to stay, show that you’re serious about governing, man up, and pass the damned extension. In the end, like with the federal government a year or two ago, this isn’t a choice about taxes. It’s a choice about whether you’re going to pay your bills or not.


  50. - ironman - Wednesday, Jun 4, 14 @ 12:41 am:

    This is ordinary Illinois management policies at its best. For one, the state spends way to much, and rebuild things that doesn’t need built. Heck I saw the same guard rail replaced within 5 years. State facilities constructing additional buildings not in need.


  51. - Isiah - Wednesday, Jun 11, 14 @ 5:28 am:

    Hi, this weekend is fastidious designed for me, for the reason that this occasion i am reading this
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Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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* Governor Bruce Rauner Honors Carnegie Hero From Buffalo Grove
* Governor Addresses State Board of Education to Emphasize Importance of Strong Accountability Standards
* Stars and Legends to Perform at 2017 Illinois State Fair - First Round of Grandstand Headliners Announced for Springfield Fair
* Earthquake Education Kiosk Unveiled at University Mall in Carbondale - IEMA, Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium project will help southern Illinois residents reduce damage, injuries from earthquakes
* Governor Takes Bill Action

  
* Google talks RCS and the default messaging situation on Android
* Facebook’s mobile prodigy launches video charades game
* Sign-up page for Samsung Galaxy S8 updates leaks
* Giveaway: Win a Scosche MagicMount Power Bank (USB-C)!
* [TA Deals] Get the Complete Machine Learning Bundle for $39!
* SoFi confirms $500 million in new funding as it pushes beyond lending
* Samsung's Never-Ending Battle With Apple Over 'Slide to Unlock' May be Headed to Supreme Court

* Quintana eager to face USA, teammates in Classic
* Buehrle 'blown away' by having number retired
* Fulmer gets nod to start Cactus League opener
* Frazier rewarded for design work on Glove Day
* Starter for Saturday's spring opener TBD
* White Sox Tilson hopes to return next week
* Improving Anderson a key piece to Sox rebuild


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