By: Ted Dabrowski
Go to this page on Rich Miller’s Capitol Fax and you’ll see a Wirepoints graphic that shows just how bad Illinois’ credit rating is compared to every other state in the nation. The graphic, shown at the end of this piece, was part of a Wirepoints’ article highlighting Indiana’s celebration of its AAA credit rating and Illinois’ just-one-notch-above-junk status.
Unsurprisingly, the commentary by some of Miller’s followers blamed former Gov. Bruce Rauner for the terrible rating – as if Illinois’ fiscal collapse started just four years ago when Rauner became governor. It’s the same narrative that was pitched by the Pritzker administration before he released his proposed budget – just read Deputy. Gov. Dan Hynes report for a start.
It’s true Rauner’s four years were a failure and that the Rauner/Madigan impasse made things worse. But to blame Rauner alone for Illinois’ near-junk status is short-sighted, to say the least. Illinois was a fiscal disaster long before Rauner.
In case you need a reminder, take a look at this graphic and the eight years before Rauner. Illinois was downgraded 13 times by the big three rating agencies during the Gov. Pat Quinn years, and many of those downgrades occurred even after the “temporary” tax hike that raised over $31 billion in additional tax revenues from 2011 through 2014. The tax hike was supposed to fix Illinois’ pension and unpaid bills problems.
A second reminder is that Illinois was already the nation’s worst-rated state as far back as 2010, by Moody’s Investors Service.
And as the Tax Foundation graphic below shows, Illinois stood alone among states in 2013. By then, S&P had also slapped Illinois with the lowest credit rating in the nation, which, by the way, was right in the middle of Illinois’ then-temporary 2011 income tax hike.
No, the near-junk rating isn’t because of Rauner. It’s because Illinois politicians on both sides of the aisle – from Gov. Jim Edgar to Gov. Pat Quinn – pursued a no-reform, can kick, borrow and tax agenda. Gov. Pritzker’s latest plan promises to do the same. None of the credit rating agencies liked his budget proposal. See what they say: Fitch. S&P. Moody’s
If you want to see how Illinois’ mess was really created, read Wirepoints’ 20 facts Gov. Pritzker doesn’t want ordinary Illinoisans to know
See the below to learn more about Illinois current crisis:
- What Pritzker’s progressive tax rates will probably look like
- Moody’s to Pritzker: “New taxes could threaten to increase the outflow of Illinois residents”
- Illinois’ lethal combination: Rising property taxes and stagnant incomes