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S&P lowers Illinois credit rating, blames pensions

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CHICAGO (Associated Press) -

Standard & Poor's has lowered Illinois' credit rating due to concern over the state's failure to address its $96 billion pension fund deficit.

The company said Friday that it downgraded Illinois' general obligation bonds from A to A-minus and has given an A-minus rating to $500 million in general obligation bonds that the state plans to issue in February.

Ratings agencies have been downgrading Illinois' credit over the last several years. Moody's Investors Services and Fitch Ratings both downgraded the state's credit outlook in recent months.

Standard & Poor's says that given the Legislature's track record, it doesn't think lawmakers will fully address the pension fund deficit. The downgrade could mean taxpayers will pay a higher interest when Illinois issues bonds to pay for construction projects or other major expenditures.

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