Caulkins says Illinois' credit rating is a failing grade
Dan Caulkins is painfully reminded of how much he thinks lawmakers in Springfield have failed Illinois taxpayers every time he turns his head.
“You look around at all the other border states and see how much better they’re doing,” he told the Chambana Sun. “People who study these kinds of cycles tell you that the economy will level off at some point and time. Right now, it's been improving for the last seven years or so and even in these times we still aren’t showing any signs of improvement. What happens when things really start to level off and the economy starts to retrace itself.”
Caulkins’ concern meter recently hit new levels when Moody’s Investors Service moved to upgrade the state’s financial outlook from “negative” to “stable,” albeit with the caveat that things can’t get any worse for the state for at least the next 24 months. Illinois’ rating is the lowest in the country.
“I would hardly call that a ringing endorsement,” Caulkins said. “It’s like being told you’re getting an ‘F’ for failing and we know you’ll be failing and getting an ‘F’ for that reason for a while to come.”
With the state still saddled with nearly $8 billion in unpaid vendor debt and pension liability, Caulkins, who is running against Democrat Jennifer McMillin in the 101st House District, said none of it should come as a surprise to anyone.
“Until we get responsible, serious-minded people down in Springfield that are willing to roll up their sleeves and get down to the business of making the tough decisions, this is what you’ll have,” he said. “Everyone’s going to have to give up something to get this state back going. It won’t be popular, but it’s what’s needed to save Illinois.”
Currently, the state’s credit rating stands at Baa3 or one peg above “junk” status. Financial brokers consider the ratings of extreme importance because they help establish the interest rates at which the state can borrow money.