Lawmaker action seen as unlikely despite threat of credit rating downgrade

ILLINOIS — Neither the outcome of the election nor the threat of another credit downgrade may change the status quo of broken budgets and no reforms in Springfield.

Illinois state lawmakers may be focused on the election, which is a month away, but some don’t expect much movement on a budget or reforms during the following lame duck session.

Republican state Rep. Steve Andersson, R-Geneva, said he doesn’t expect the GOP to change their focus on reforms and a balanced budget.

Andersson said lawmakers need to make the painful and difficult decisions to get a balanced budget on the books.

As to the outcome of the Nov. 8 election, Democratic state Rep. Elaine Nekritz, D-Northbrook, said it likely won’t change much.

Last week, ratings agency Fitch threatened the state with a credit downgrade, saying they’ll watch what Springfield does in the lame duck session after the November election. Democratic state Rep. Kelly Cassidy, D-Chicago, said she doesn’t expect that threat to move the parties closer together.

Lawmakers passed a stopgap spending bill this summer, but it only funds government operations through the end of the calendar year.

Illinois hasn’t had a full year’s budget since July of 2015. The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago said state lawmakers haven’t passed a balanced budget since the late 1980s.

The new General Assembly meets in January after the election and the fall veto session.