New report highlights Illinois' state budget woes

December 8, 2010

Emily Wilensky

A new report by the National Conference of State Legislators described llinois' fiscal situation as dire.

The group surveyed budget conditions in each of the fifty states and Puerto Rico.

Laurence Msall is the president of the Civic Federation, he said the report does not exaggerate Illinois' problems, but he said, the state has a few options to help reduce the budget deficit.

“What needs to happen is the state has to reduce the amount of money it’s spending each year,” he said. “That’s going to require cuts in programs. If it’s not able to drastically reduce it’s spending it’s going to have to dramatically reduce its pension contributions.”

State lawmakers are still debating a plan to sell more than $3 billion in bonds for state pensions. A report put out Monday by Moody's Investment Service warned such a bond sale could weaken the state's already fragile bond rating.