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After years of harping about credit rating downgrades, crickets from the right after upgrade

Wednesday, Jun 30, 2021

* Illinois Policy Institute, April of 2020

Two major credit ratings agencies, Standard and Poor’s Global Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service, have dropped Illinois’ credit outlook to “negative” from “stable” on expectations that economic fallout from COVID-19 will strain state budgets.

Both currently rank Illinois bonds just one notch above non-investment grade debt, also known as “junk” status, while the third major agency, Fitch Ratings, puts Illinois slightly higher at two grades above junk. The Prairie State has the lowest rating among states across all three agencies.

* October 8, 2020

A public finance watchdog said the latest report on Illinois’ finances from Fitch Ratings is evidence the state is on the verge of having a junk credit rating.

Fitch gave $850 million of borrowing the state issued a BBB- rating. Some of that borrowing is for the state’s pension buyout program, the rest is for capital projects.

Wirepoints President Ted Dabrowski said the pension buyout program is a distraction and not providing real savings. He said the Fitch report shows state’s politicians are running out of options and are costing taxpayers more by borrowing more money.

* House Republican Leader Jim Durkin in 2019

S&P called the Pritzker budget “dubious” and said enacting it could ”weaken the state’s credit trajectory,” which is already at a junk-bond-skirting BBB- in the S&P credit-rating table. Fitch Ratings explicitly warned Illinois that enactment of the Pritzker budget will place the state in risk of a credit downgrade.

A third major credit-rating office, Moody’s Investors Service, has also ranked the State of Illinois only one notch above junk-bond level.

The Illinois Republican Party also warned in 2019 that Gov. Pritzker could drive the state into junk bond territory.

* The ILGOP has often used downgrades to whack Democrats. A sampling…


* And, of course, there’s the Tribune editorial board…


And now that Illinois has earned its first credit rating upgrade in 21 years? Nothing. Zip. Nada. Nix, nein Frankenstein, as we used to say in Germany.

It’s not that I expected any joyous announcements, but I did expect something. Must take awhile to reprogram their talking points software. Or maybe their unified system was hit with a ransomware attack.

…Adding… Eleni Demertzis with the HGOPs…

The Democrats’ ransomware attack upon the US Treasury was successful, and the state has been able to pass a budget with the bailout cash. We are all old enough to remember a time when Governor Pritzker told us a graduated income tax was needed to save our state’s finances. Seems like he might still have retrograde amnesia.

The federal aid to the state was not used to balance the budget. And the governor said accurately yesterday that the state’s structural deficit remains, although it was pared back with $655 million in corporate loophole closures.

…Adding… For those either deliberately or ignorantly unclear on the concept in comments, what I meant was that I expected responses like this one from IPI after a 2013 California upgrade

California’s fake reforms yield credit upgrade

I mean, at least give us a little grumpiness or something. Instead, crickets. By the way, those “fake reforms” led directly to California’s very real budget surplus of $80 billion today.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

54 Comments
  1. - Give Me A Break - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:11 pm:

    Madigan gone and credit rating going up what does the GOP have left other than, Chicago is mean to us and wants to take our guns away.


  2. - Hyrum Powell - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:11 pm:

    Or maybe, just maybe, the left is so thirsty for this “good” news that they are over playing it, just as you are. You act bewildered that the right isn’t popping Champaign and killing the fatted calf on behalf of a minor uptick in the bond rating. What a bizarre state, and the media, just so blatantly in the tank.


  3. - 33rd ward - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:12 pm:

    Republicans have proven on a local and national level that they’re really just haters. They hate anything and everything they can. When the can’t hate it, they just don’t mention it.


  4. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:13 pm:

    ===You act bewildered that the right isn’t popping Champaign and killing the fatted calf on behalf of a minor uptick===

    Um, no. I never expected that and I said so *in the post*. Don’t put words into my mouth.

    Also, you pop champagne. Champaign is a town.


  5. - 33rd ward - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:15 pm:

    “Or maybe, just maybe, the left is so thirsty for this “good” news that they are over playing it, just as you are.”

    Oh, I see. So every time our credit rating gets mentioned, I get an email taking about how bad it is from the Illinois Policy Institute (run by rich Republicans). But when the rating actually goes up, I get nothing.

    So the IPI doesn’t really care about our rating. They only care about using it against their political opponents. And like a good Republican, you blame “the left.”


  6. - Say What? - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:21 pm:

    This news is a nothing burger. Truly little to see here.

    Any “joy” on the left is an overplay as a tick up from abominable isn’t really high five kind of stuff.

    Kind of like starting 33rd in the Indy 500 and finishing 31st . . . . . .Meh . . . .


  7. - Pundent - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:21 pm:

    Whether it’s the IPI, the ILGOP, or the Trib Editorial Board, the narrative that is peddled isn’t dependent on facts. They will choose those examples and illustrations that enable them to advance the narrative and ignore those that contradict it. Because at the end of the day it’s more about the message being delivered than the evidence which may or may not support it.


  8. - Montrose - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:22 pm:

    They don’t care about the credit rating. They care about the credit rating as fodder for their goal of cutting spending/pensions. A credit uptick does not help their narrative, particularly if that uptick was the result of closing tax loopholes. So, this is bad news to them.


  9. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:27 pm:

    ===and finishing 31st===

    The race ain’t over. It’s never over. Sheesh. That was too easy. Get a better bot programmer, for crying out loud.


  10. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:30 pm:

    === The federal aid to the state was not used to balance the budget. And the governor said accurately yesterday that the state’s structural deficit remains, although it was pared back with $655 million in corporate loophole closures===

    The only response given was a disingenuous one from the spokesperson of the House Minority Leader?

    That’s fun.

    The Raunerites are bereft of any governing, or any honesty towards that.

    If they can’t lead with misinformation, you get crickets. Like now.


  11. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:32 pm:

    With Rauner exiled (self exiled after a humiliating defeat) abd no Griffin candidate emerging… is this what is to come of the Raunerite GOP, the IPI banter, dare I say, Statehouse Chick too?

    Silence?

    So anticlimactic


  12. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    === Wake me up when we are on the lead lap. . . . . . . . .===

    Narrator: they will stay silent too.


  13. - Marky - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    It’s no different than Republican deficit-hawking at the federal level. It only matters if a Democrat is president.


  14. - 47th Ward - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:33 pm:

    ===The Democrats’ ransomware attack upon the US Treasury was successful, and the state has been able to pass a budget with the bailout cash===

    Snark, disingenuousness and lies. I guess that’s all we’re going to get from the ILGOPs for the foreseeable future.

    And they wonder why they’re shut out of the legislative process. With contributions like this, the Dems are wise to ignore their childish antics.


  15. - Nick - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:35 pm:

    Interesting use of the word “ransomeware” that’s for sure


  16. - Numbers Guy - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:37 pm:

    But the Governor said the budget addresses the structural deficit. Did it address it or does it remain?

    https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/news-item.aspx?ReleaseID=23385


  17. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:42 pm:

    ===But the Governor said the budget addresses the structural deficit===

    Address and solve are two very different things. Don’t argue like a child.


  18. - Flat Bed Ford - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:43 pm:

    Okay. This is good news. The question now is what do the Democrats do with this opportunity? Federal bailout money will eventually dry up so this is essentially a federal purchase of time. Time to fix all the problems that led us here in the first place. Claiming that all of this was caused by not having a budget under the Rauner years is whistling past the graveyard. No budget didn’t cause Illinois fiscal mess it only accelerated it. Do Democrats have the discipline to fix the mess? I remain skeptical.


  19. - From DaZoo - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:43 pm:

    With this being the first time in 20+ years of getting a positive financial outlook, these folks are simply struck mute. It may be a while for them to reprogram their thinking.

    McQueary’s excuse may simply be that she’s got a foot out the door already.


  20. - A - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:44 pm:

    Montrose nailed it


  21. - low level - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:49 pm:

    Crickets from Kristen. What a shock. Oh well, her last day at the Trib is coming soon.


  22. - Ducky LaMoore - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:50 pm:

    Ah… I see. The right’s strategy is going to be, “don’t celebrate improvement because things aren’t perfect.” Good luck with that.


  23. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:50 pm:

    There were also crickets when deficits and debt exploded under Rauner and Trump.

    It’s by design that there is no praise. There is no principle, only a quest for power. Now is the time to simply be honest about it.

    The sour grapes are funny and the arguments against our improvement lame. Of course we can’t fix all of fiscal problems overnight. But we’ve improved, without resorting to right wing policies. That does not sit well with certain interests and their agendas.


  24. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:52 pm:

    ===Claiming that all===

    Not ONE person claimed that.

    Not a one. Disingenuous to premise any thought to that.


  25. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:54 pm:

    ===Not ONE person claimed that===

    Exactly. A whole lot of stupendously childish arguments today. Up your games.


  26. - The Doc - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:58 pm:

    ==The Democrats’ ransomware attack upon the US Treasury was successful, and the state has been able to pass a budget with the bailout cash==

    Ms. Demertzis’ distasteful and ad hominem attack aside, it sure seems like she’s acknowledging that additional revenues resulted in the credit upgrade.

    We’ve been told a few times that this was purely a spending problem, no?


  27. - vern - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:58 pm:

    “Ransomware” in this context isn’t even hyperbole or language excess, it’s gobbledygook. Unless Governor Pritzker conducted some kind of cyber heist, this is angry word jazz. One of the reasons Republicans struggle to win elections in Illinois is that they can’t bring themselves to act as though they like the state or want it to succeed. Even when there’s absolutely no negative angle on a piece of news, all they can think to do is pull words at random from the world’s maddest thesaurus.

    Who was the last Republican in IL who exhibited any kind of joy that didn’t come at the expense of perceived enemies? I can’t think of anyone.


  28. - Rich Miller - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:59 pm:

    ===“Ransomware” in this context isn’t even hyperbole===

    I made a joke about it and she pivoted on the phrase. Allowable.


  29. - Big Jer - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 1:59 pm:

    The Republican Party at the Federal, State, and Local level is concerned with one thing: very limited i.e. small government and/or the abolishment of the administrative state

    Or as the Republican political advocate Grover Norquist used to say “I don’t want to abolish government. I simply want to reduce it to the size where I can drag it into the bathroom and drown it in the bathtub.

    For Republicans, anything (in this case good news for Illinois state government) that goes against that goal is considered bad news.


  30. - En Err Gee - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 2:00 pm:

    So…Republicans not mad?


  31. - vern - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 2:07 pm:

    === I made a joke about it and she pivoted on the phrase. Allowable. ===

    Ahh, sorry, missed the reference. Gotta keep up better with the CapFax Cinematic Universe canon. Fair enough.

    I do stand by my broader point though - the electorate experiences more feelings than just anger, and a successful party would attempt to model that emotional diversity a little.


  32. - Arsenal - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 2:25 pm:

    ==This news is a nothing burger. Truly little to see here. ==

    Anything that hasn’t happened for 20 years happening now seems pretty interesting to me.


  33. - Joe Bidenopolous - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 2:27 pm:

    =Who was the last Republican in IL who exhibited any kind of joy that didn’t come at the expense of perceived enemies?=

    Topinka, so it’s been a while. There have never been any R’s quite like her, but there aren’t even any similar these days.


  34. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 2:38 pm:

    “Claiming that all of this was caused by not having a budget under the Rauner years is whistling past the graveyard.”

    Eight downgrades under Rauner. EIGHT.

    Under Pritzker we get the first upgrade in 20+ years. Since George Ryan. The first rule of getting out of a hole is to stop digging. The Ds stopped digging. Give them credit where credit is due. Well done.


  35. - City Zen - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 2:55 pm:

    If we can celebrate the Diamondbacks finally winning a road game, we can celebrate this.


  36. - dan l - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 3:00 pm:

    So weird. Nothing about this on Darren Bailey’s facebook or twitter accounts.


  37. - dan l - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 3:08 pm:

    ——
    What did you want the people that were right to now say “great, we’re just above junk?”
    —–

    Well. Yes.


  38. - TheInvisibleMan - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 3:18 pm:

    Why do we keep asking things like “Where does Mary Miller really stand”. Or “Why are republicans silent about this.”

    Is it because the reality of what they are doing is so horrific, that we pretend we don’t recognize it?


  39. - PublicServant - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 3:20 pm:

    Well, the GOP is waiting for the Q hive mind to assimilate this anomaly, so …


  40. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 3:21 pm:

    “The only reason for the increase is the feds going deep in debt and handing out money like lollipops at the bank drive thru”

    Still not reading what Rich writes, are you. The budget did not use Federal largesse. It’s a budget that uses increased tax revenues caused by higher than expected economic activity, closed loopholes and generally flat spending.

    Care to try again?


  41. - Demoralized - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 3:22 pm:

    ==The only reason for the increase==’

    That was not the only reason for the increase. Read what they said.

    I really hope that some of you get the help you need since you seem to be nothing but negative all the time. Must be a harsh life to live - things being bad all the time.


  42. - The Dude Abides - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 3:30 pm:

    After the previous Republican Governor tried to crash the state economy we now have a Democrat Governor who is slowly digging us out of the mess. Credit upgrades and the smallest bill backlog in 20 years isn’t good news for Republicans hoping to recapture the Governor’s mansion. You can see this from some of responses on this thread.


  43. - Unconventional wisdom - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 3:44 pm:

    A start at least. But a very, very long way to go.


  44. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 4:22 pm:

    == The Republican Party at the Federal, State, and Local level is concerned with one thing: very limited i.e. small government and/or the abolishment of the administrative state ==

    I tend to be on the conservative side of most issues, but the IL GOP has this one wrong. Illinois already has a pretty small government at the State level, relatively speaking, when you look at factors like number of actual State employees and overall spending compared to population, exclusive of the pension debt hole that was dug over many years and both party’s administration. Yes, they still have to pay on the pension debt every year. But current spending (or operational spending if you prefer that term) is relatively low.


  45. - RNUG - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 4:28 pm:

    == The first rule of getting out of a hole is to stop digging. The Ds stopped digging. ==

    On paper, at least. The numbers look like they will be good, especially given the uptick in likely tax revenue.

    But I’ll reserve judgement until we get to the end of the fiscal year lapse period and see the actual results.


  46. - Chicago Cynic - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 5:10 pm:

    “The Republican Party at the Federal, State, and Local level is concerned with one thing: very limited i.e. small government and/or the abolishment of the administrative state.”

    Correction. They are concerned about that when they are out of power. That’s not remotely how they’ve governed for more than a generation. They simply borrow the money they spend to expand government instead of taxing it (see, e.g. Bush, George W. and Trump, Donald J.).


  47. - BTO2 - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 5:51 pm:

    Is it ok for a ordinary Illinois resident to be happy about this news?


  48. - Captain Obvious - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 7:20 pm:

    Be happy all you want. It’s good news. But I’m not doing cartwheels because the state has made baby steps toward doing what they should have been doing over the last several decades. So it’s crickets from me too. Negativity? Nope. Realism.


  49. - Anyone Remember - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 7:26 pm:

    === … last several decades.===

    Going back to 1973, right?


  50. - Grandson of Man - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 7:28 pm:

    Cali is rocking with that huge budget surplus, reportedly in large part from higher taxes on the wealthy, who did great during the pandemic. California has the highest progressive state income tax.

    Wealthy people can and should be pleased at the proposals to help lower-income Californians with a lot of the extra money. But not the right wing bunch. They want austerity and the red state model of RTWFL, low/no minimum wage, low/no state income tax, no ACA/Medicaid expansion, little workers comp/regulation, few/no pandemic restrictions, etc. No thanks. They can Illinois Exodus to red states and wallow in it.


  51. - Oswego Willy - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 7:29 pm:

    ===So it’s crickets from me too. Negativity? Nope. Realism.===

    “Sure, Jan”


  52. - Proud Papa Bear - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 7:45 pm:

    “The Republican Party at the Federal, State, and Local level is concerned with one thing: very limited i.e. small government and/or the abolishment of the administrative state.”

    Only for things that affect them.
    If it’s voting rights, women’s bodies, or what consenting adults do in the bedroom, they feel the need for the government to get involved.


  53. - Eleni - Wednesday, Jun 30, 21 @ 10:04 pm:

    I’m so sorry I upset so many of you. I’ll be back with more angry word jazz tomorrow!


  54. - 17% Solution - Thursday, Jul 1, 21 @ 9:33 am:

    Wirepoints is making the claim that federal money is behind the upgrade.
    So there’s your grumpy response, Rich.
    “ Illinois gets its first credit upgrade in 20 years. It took $138 billion in federal relief for it to happen. – Wirepoints
    July 1, 2021”


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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