Illinois Borrowing Costs To Rise In Wake of Ruling Overturning Pension Reform

Illinois map and flag

Illinois already has the lowest credit rating of any state in the country. But it could see its borrowing costs rise further after a court law week overturned the state’s pension reform law.

From Bloomberg:

Illinois bonds are set to weaken after a judge struck down a plan to address the biggest pension deficit among U.S. states, according to Wells Capital Management.

Illinois 10-year obligations yield 3.68 percent, or about 1.4 percentage points above benchmark municipal debt, data compiled by Bloomberg show. At that yield spread, the smallest since July, the debt isn’t attractive given the legal developments and the potential financial strain, said Robert Miller, who helps oversee $35 billion of munis at Wells Capital.

The lowest-rated U.S. state plans to appeal the Nov. 21 ruling that its constitution protects cuts to public pensions, which face a $111 billion shortfall. The decision marks the latest challenge to emerge for the incoming governor, Bruce Rauner, who takes office Jan. 12. He also has to grapple with a $2 billion budget hole from expiring increases to income-tax rates.

“You would expect on this news that spreads would widen out,” said Miller, who’s based in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. “The pension is definitely a looming problem and something they need to deal with.”

Some Illinois bonds weakened after last week’s pension decision. Taxable debt maturing in June 2033, the state’s most frequently traded securities, changed hands Nov. 21 at yields as high as 5.42 percent, Bloomberg data show. The debt’s spread to Treasuries was about 0.3 percentage point more than the average for the past five months.

If history’s any guide, the court decision will keep inflating the state’s relative borrowing costs. In July, Illinois yields surged after a separate court ruling signaled the 2013 pension fix might be in jeopardy. The law would save an estimated $145 billion over 30 years by reducing cost-of-living adjustments and raising the retirement age.

The state is appealing the circuit court’s decision to the Supreme Court.

One thought on “Illinois Borrowing Costs To Rise In Wake of Ruling Overturning Pension Reform”

  1. I just want to weigh in on the public pensions problem in Illinois. As a person who will only retire when I save enough of my own money to do so, it makes me sick to see how easily teachers, cops and firefighters get plush pensions after 20 years of work or so. I’m forced to pay my taxes for these public leeches – BEFORE I’m even able to save for my own retirement. This is not fair.

    I hope that all public employees get put onto 401k type investment vehicles ASAP. Save and pay for YOUR own damn retirement. I’d be OK to kick in a bit of a match, but no more.

    Here’s the million dollar question for which I’d love to get a logical response from from a public servant: WHY should I pay for your retirement? Why shouldn’t YOU save/pay for your own retirement like the rest of us?

    Here’s a better idea: let’s have all public workers pay for for all private workers’ retirements! Our “public servants” could then REALLY earn their mantle! Hey public workers – waddaya think? Don’t like it? Don’t WANT to pay me 75% of my salary (with full healthcare) for the rest of my life? Well, then maybe you can see it from our taxpaying perspective now!

    And please – don’t think that I’m forgetting about that painful 6-9% pension payment you are all making. Good for you! However, this paltry sum doesn’t come close to paying for your 75% of your salary pension payments – so please hush on that justification. Let’s make it all TOTALLY FAIR by putting you onto the SAME savings plans we are on: Social Security and whatever you can save yourselves in 401ks and IRAs.

    It would also be nice if you would stop justifying your pensions by saying that you were “promised” these ridiculous benefits. Sure. Just like Bernie Madoff’s first ponzi “investors” were promised their returns. When the scam was uncovered, the original investors had their money taken away because the WHOLE thing was corrupt. Just like the pensions that were promised to you by “buy my vote” politicians. In negotiating your pensions, NO ONE was there really representing the taxpayers’ interests. And you know it.

    And by the way, while you profess that teaching is hard, that being a cop or a firefighter is dangerous, etc., if you don’t like it: change jobs. That’s what people do in the real world. You all say you “…do it for the children!…”, or because you like to protect and serve, etc. Cool. It’s so nice you aren’t doing mainly to retire at 45 with 75% of your base pay. Surrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre.

    If you’d really like to understand how f’d up we are to allow public unions, have a look at the two YouTube teacher’s union videos below:
    They are HILARIOUS! Unless, of course, you are the ones PAYING the bills…
    Now – let’s see if Rauner and the vote whores downstate can make this happen. The best news in this whole story is that you are about $80 billion away from getting your ghost pensions. Truly – good luck with that. I’ll be moving to a no state income tax state when I retire.

    Tired Of Paying For Your Freight

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