Illinois’ treasurer says he’s not surprised at the state’s recent credit downgrade, and says lawmakers must make pension reform their top priority this year. Moody’s Investors Service gave Illinois the worst credit rating in the nation, A2, because lawmakers have implemented no long-term solutions to curtail the state’s debt. Treasurer Dan Rutherford says public pensions are the state’s biggest expense and must be addressed.
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“Until we fix digging that hole deeper and wider in the state’s public pension systems, more tax increases won’t fix it, cutting half of all of government won’t fix it,” he says. “This is the A No. 1 issue that must be addressed by the General Assembly and this governor.” The House crafted a proposal to require current employees to pay more to continue receiving their current benefits, or pay the same and receive fewer. Senate Democrats decry that proposal as unconstitutional, but Rutherford says if that’s the only thing holding it up, then let it play out.