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(Tracy O / Flickr)

The fiscal cracks may be turning into floodgates as the state government approaches a fifth month without a budget. A major ratings agency on Monday dealt a blow to the state as a result of the inaction in Springfield. Has it emboldened either side to get off the sidelines and work together on a solution? Paris Schutz has the latest.

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Banks could claim nearly $200 million from Chicago if the city's credit rating drops three more notches because of existing interest rate swaps made by Richard Daley's administration. 

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In a post-recession economy, many people are fearful of credit and credit card debt. But one program is helping people with poor or no credit get credit cards. Brandis Friedman explains why this program is actually helpful. Read an article and watch a web extra video.

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Illinois is now rated as the least credit-worthy state in the nation. It seems increasingly likely that some form of state tax reform must be a part of any plan to address the state’s long-term fiscal woes. But what type of reform? State Rep. David McSweeney and State Rep. Christian Mitchell debate the merits of a progressive vs. a flat tax. View an infographic from Reboot Illinois for a nationwide overview on taxes.

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The latest casualty in the state’s battle for pension reform is Chicago’s credit ratings. Moody’s Investors Service has bumped the city’s general obligation and sales tax ratings down three notches. We discuss what this triple downgrade means.

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Now that Standard & Poor's has lowered Illinois' credit rating to the worst in the nation, will it inspire lawmakers to tackle the state's pension crisis? Paris Schutz has more on the outlook, and the ramifications for taxpayers.