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Buying Illinois Debt – BOLD or Bad?

Illinois DebtThe Illinois debt saga continues. The state operated without a budget since 2015. In June, just before their fiscal year end, both S&P and Moody's downgraded Illinois' credit rating to one level above "junk bond" status.

Moody's said:

"Legislative gridlock has sidetracked efforts not only to address pension needs but also to achieve fiscal balance, allowing a backlog of bills to approach $15 billion, or about 40% of the state's operating budget. During the past year of fruitless negotiations and partisan wrangling, fundamental credit challenges have intensified enough to warrant a downgrade, regardless of whether a fiscal compromise is reached in an extended session.

…By our calculation, the state's unfunded pension liability for its five major plans in aggregate grew 25% in the year ended June 30, 2016, to $251 billion.

…After eight downgrades in as many years, Illinois' rating is an outlier among states, most of which are rated at least eight notches higher."

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