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Gov. J.B. Pritzker comments on the state’s bond rating upgrade from Moody’s Investors Service on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (WTTW News via Governor’s Office)

Illinois broke a 23-year streak on Tuesday, when credit ratings agency Moody’s upgraded the state’s bond rating for the first time since 1998 – the same year the Chicago Bulls won their last championship.

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Reports from credit ratings agencies aren’t typically considered thrilling reads. But the latest one from Moody’s is so ominous, it ought to give taxpayers, or at least state lawmakers elected to represent them, the shivers.

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WBEZ reporter Dan Weissmann

The city plans to go to the debt markets for almost $1.2 billion, including more so-called “scoop and toss” borrowing.

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Moody’s Investors Service has issued a “credit negative” warning against the state in light of last Friday’s State Supreme Court ruling rejecting changes to public pensions. It’s a somewhat tepid response to the ruling, relative to the double ratings drop Moody’s applied to city of Chicago’s credit, resulting in junk bond status. In today’s report, Moody’s says the reforms could have reduced the unfunded pension liability by about $21 billion. 

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Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded the credit ratings of both Chicago’s schools and parks, one day after its downgrade of the city’s debt to junk status.

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Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the rating on the city of Chicago’s $8.3 billion in general obligation debt to Baa2 from Baa1 on Friday, Feb. 27. 

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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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Illinois yanks its bonds off the market after a downgrade in its credit rating last week. We find out how this will affect finances for the worst-rated state in the nation.