What could Illinois do with $95 million? We doubt anyone would suggest: Throw away my tax dollars. And yet that's exactly what our lawmakers are doing.
The $95 million is how much more the state is expected to have to pay in interest over the life of an upcoming $500 million bond sale than if it had a stellar credit score. Sadly, Illinois' credit rating is the polar opposite of stellar because lawmakers have failed to reform state workers' pensions despite being $96 billion in debt.
Moody's now rates us the worst of all 50 states. Standard & Poor's and Fitch rate us next to last, just ahead of California.
As bad as it is, it most likely will get worse. The credit rating agencies are warning they will downgrade Illinois even further if lawmakers don't fix the spending problem. And the more the debt grows, the less money is available for your children's schools, social services and other state programs.
The failure to act says that lawmakers couldn't care less what the credit agencies say. There is no reason they should care. Democrats have supermajorities in both houses despite their poor fiscal track record.
It's going to take public outrage to force them to act responsibly. Lawmakers need to understand that they're going to be looking for new jobs if they don't do this one correctly.
Call or write your lawmakers today and turn up the heat.