Illinois's Powerful Government Union Bosses a 'Major Stumbling Block' on State's 'Path to Reform'

Last Friday, Standard & Poor announced its latest downgrading of forced-unionism Illinois’s fiscal status.  The Prairie State now has an S&P credit level of A-, putting it in a tie with Big Labor-controlled California for 49th in the country.  But Illinois’s negative outlook gives it the lowest overall S&P rating in the country.  The Moody’s bond-rating agency also ranks Illinois 50th among the states.

In an editorial today, Investor’s Business Daily charges that Illinois politicians’ unwillingness to stand up to Big Labor is a key reason why their state has become “America’s Greece”:

While neighbors like Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan have either challenged the unions on pension reform or embraced right-to-work to encourage the economic growth to fund them, Illinois remains in thrall to big labor.

A major stumbling block on the path to reform has been the state’s powerful public employee unions.

We Are One Illinois (WAOI), a group that represents more than 1 million state workers, has formed to fight any reforms, even while the state’s pension costs rise at a rate of $17 million per day.

The state will spend $5.9 billion on the pension system in fiscal year 2013, which ends in July 2013, and will spend nearly $7 billion in FY 2014.

The Standard & Poor’s report warns that further inaction could lead to downgrading Illinois to “BBB,” an “unusual” low rating for any state.

The agency noted a “lack of action on pension reform and upcoming budget challenges could result in further credit deterioration.”

Obama’s Illinois Downgrade Makes It America’s Greece