U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) today called for action to resolve the state's pension crisis and released a video in the wake of the recent credit downgrade issued by Standard and Poor's (S&P). In the video, Senator Kirk calls for a timely agreement and "decisive bipartisan action to make sure our state does not have the worst credit rating of all 50 states."
On August 17, 2012 the Illinois General Assembly ended its special session, having failed to pass comprehensive reforms to the state's pension system, which S&P has cited as one reason for its downgrade of the state's general obligation debt from A+ to A with a negative outlook. Ratings downgrades can increase interest costs on bonds, resulting in higher expenses for state infrastructure projects including schools, highways and other improvements. "Everyone in Illinois is disadvantaged by these higher interest costs because of poor debt management by our state," Senator Kirk said.
In 2011, Senator Kirk warned of the state's impending fiscal crisis when he released the Report on Illinois Debt. The Report outlined the dangers of failing to address the state's debt, unpaid bills and underfunded pensions.