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Moodys upgrades Illinois’ credit outlook


(The Center Square) – A financial transparency expert is downplaying news that Illinois has received another credit adjustment from a credit reporting agency.

Moody’s Investors Service revised the Illinois’ outlook from “stable” to “positive,” citing continued improvement in fund balance and budget reserves. Moody’s added that the positive outlook hinged on the possibility of continued growth in state revenue.

“We’ve had nine consecutive credit upgrades and we want to keep going,” said Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza. “Better ratings from the bond rating agencies mean lower costs for Illinois taxpayers on infrastructure projects like roads and bridges.”

Sheila Weinberg, president of the financial thinktank Truth in Accounting, said she doesn’t put a lot of weight on the credit rating.

“We continue to give them an ‘F’ despite what Moody’s is giving them because of the burden that the state is continuing to put onto future taxpayers,” Weinberg told The Center Square.

Just last year, Moody’s described the state’s financial position as weak, citing the bleak pension obligation situation.

“And it still is, it’s not like it got better,” said Weinberg. “The governor contributed $5 billion less than he should have into the pension plan so it’s even worse.”

The state’s rainy day fund surpassed $2 billion late last year, but according to Pew Charitable Trusts, the state is ranked 47th in the country for the amount of days the government could run on that fund.