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How the State of Illinois can avoid junk bond status!

7/12/2017, 9:04 p.m.

No state in our nation's history has ever had their General Obligation bonds rated as "Junk bonds." Enacting a budget was the first step in preventing a financial meltdown, but more work remains to be done. The credit rating agencies have made it clear that our political failures are the reason we are on the precipice of junk bond status.

Illinois needs leadership that is willing to put their ideological demands aside to protect this great state. Yesterday I outlined five steps the Governor needs to take

if he wants to avoid presiding over the first state in the country to fall to "junk."

  1. Meet with the three rating agencies to ensure implementation of the budget and revenue plan passed by the General Assembly.

  2. Take the fiscally responsible step to pay down our backlog of bills. New bonding would would work like refinancing a mortgage at a lower rate. It would save the state millions in interest and could allow Illinois to capture $3 billion in federal funds.

  3. Fix the broken school funding formula and sign SB1. Without school funding reform, Illinois schools will not have the funds to open in the Fall. All kids in Illinois deserve a quality education that is not based on where they are born.

  4. Illinois employers need to be informed. The Governor and the agencies he controls must communicate the new tax rates to Illinois businesses so they can properly plan for implementation.

  5. Time to end the divisive rhetoric that is holding our state back. The rating agencies want to see civility and bi partisanship.

Illinois has had 8 credit downgrades since Governor Rauner was sworn in. He has to power to avoid future ones.

Join me in urging the Governor to show the rating agencies we are serious about fixing the financial problems of Illinois. We have no time to waste. Let's stop the bleeding and put Illinois families first. Let's not become a Saturday night joke about our political dysfunction.

Mike Frerichs