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December 3, 2002

Governor Ryan Says Balanced Budget Key to Financial Rating
Moody’s downgrades “outlook” for state because of uncertainty

SPRINGFIELD - Governor Ryan said that although we have taken strong steps to ensure Illinois’ sound fiscal health, Moody’s Investors Service has revised its rating outlook from “stable” to “negative.” The governor says a supplemental bill to restore budget cuts would only make the situation worse.

“We’ve taken the steps necessary to keep the state on sound financial footing. But Moody’s is clearly concerned about the state’s ability to move swiftly to balance the budget in the face of a continued weak economy. The $200 million supplemental bill to restore our budget cuts for the next six months without any way to pay for that spending would make that situation worse,” Governor Ryan said.

Governor Ryan noted that Moody’s has similarly changed its outlook for 16 other states. Nonetheless, the Governor is disappointed that hard-fought efforts to balance the budget during last spring’s legislative session may be undone and in the process worsen the state’s financial picture.

Moody’s did maintain the state’s Aa2 credit rating and notes that General Obligation Bonds like Illinois’ are still a “particularly safe investment.” But Governor Ryan notes that the strong credit rating is attributable to his administration’s sound budget practices, which means spending must be in line with declining revenues.

“I have no doubt that over the long haul, Illinois’ diverse economy will recover from last year’s terrorist attacks and the ensuing downturn in the economy. But, in the short term, we must control spending until revenues improve,” Governor Ryan said.


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