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“A major comeback”: Illinois sees first Moody’s rating upgrade since Ryan era

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(WSIL) -- Illinois has accomplished a fiscal feat not seen since the days of Governor George Ryan.

Moody's Investors Service released a report that upgraded the state's general obligation rating to two notches above 'junk' status. The upgrade comes on the heels of the state's third consecutive balanced budget.

"Illinois' fiscal condition is headed in the right direction for the first time in the 21st century," Gov. JB Pritzker said at a press conference Tuesday. "Illinois is making a major comeback."

The report cited improvements in the states finances as reasons for the upgrade. John Jackson of the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute says it's a significant development and residents should take note.

"It dictates how cheap or how expensive it is to borrow money and the state floats all kinds of bond issues," Jackson said.

The higher the state's bond rating, the shorter the interest will be on repaying federal loans, saving taxpayers millions of dollars in the long-run, Jackson says.

Jackson added that the state has paid off most of its backlog of bills, going from $16 billion to $3 billion.

Illinois 117th District State Representative Dave Severin (R-Benton) credits federal aid for helping improve the state's bond rating. Severin says it's time for lawmakers to buckle down to keep moving forward.

"As more revenues come in, lets not come up with more programs to spend money," Severin said. "Lets pay down that debt."