Illinois Is Broker for Being Broke

Illinois shares lowest bond rating distinction with California

By Ivanna Hampton
|  Monday, Aug 30, 2010  |  Updated 7:44 AM CDT
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Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks to a crowd gathered on the lawn of the old State Capital Building February 10, 2007 in Springfield, Illinois.

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Illinois' bad credit report is costing taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Civic Federation, a Chicago-based, nonpartisan finance group, analyzed the state's alarming borrowing since last September found Illinois has to pay an extra $551.3 million blamed on several rating downgrades, the Sun-Times reports.

Illinois shares its dubious distinction with California. Both states' bond ratings rank the lowest out of 50 states, according to the Civic Federation.

Two borrowing sprees in the last seven years led to billions of debt including, $9.6 billion in September 2009.

Taxpayers have to pay it all back. Illinois must pay off the $551.3 million over several years, the paper reports.

"The failure of Illinois government to stabilize its finances means Illinoisans will be forced to pay more for their government while it delivers fewer services," said Laurence Msall, the Civic Federation's president.

If Illinois had a credit card, the cashier would cut it in half.

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