Dear Member of the
International Olympic Committee:
We regret to inform you that Illinois, Cook County and the City of Chicago continue to be gravely in debt and operating with extremely large deficits. Our state's finances are so poor that Moody's Investors Service has placed Illinois debt under review for a possible downgrade - the second in just four months.
Moody's puts Illinois bond ratings on watch for downgrade
July 16, 2009
Jones) - Moody's Investors Service on Thursday put the state of
Illinois's general-obligation bond ratings on review for possible
downgrade, saying the state has long-term budgetary challenges.
The firm said the state has a long history of general-fund
operating deficits, and liquidity in the fund has been increasingly
strained, which it said was evidenced by growing use of short-term debt
and delaying payments to Medicaid providers and vendors.
It also said Illinois was one of five U.S. states that started its
new fiscal year July 1 with no budget in place. Gov. Pat Quinn signed a
$26 billion budget Wednesday night. Moody's said some of the proposed
measures would help in the short term but be at the expense of future
The GO bonds' ratings were cut one notch to A1 in April, when
Moody's cited similar reasons including "narrow operating fund
Other ratings that will be on watch for downgrade include Build Illinois Bonds, dedicated state tax revenue bonds, and others.
The ratings agency said its review will focus on the state's
prospects for restoring balanced financial operations while addressing
"sizable funding requirements" for pensions and retiree health
benefits, as well as liquidity and its growing debt burden. Moody's
said increasing evidence of strained liquidity, growing structural
imbalance, further deterioration of fund balances
and other factors
could cause a downgrade on the ratings.
|City of Chicago layoffs looming Deadline passes for 2 holdout unions
July 15, 2009
BY FRAN SPIELMAN Sun-Times City Hall Reporter
Despite a last-minute bargaining session early Wednesday, two
hold-out unions refused to agree to Mayor Daley's demand for
cost-cutting concessions, paving the way for 431 members of Teamsters
726 and AFSCME Council 31 to lose their jobs.
"I feel terrible for workers losing their jobs and their families.
This is something they'll have to face tomorrow morning," Daley told a
City Hall news conference.
"I did not want to lay anyone off. It could have been all
avoided... .Until the deadline at midnight [Tuesday]. we held out hope
that an agreement could be reached. That did not happen. So, we're
forced to take this very sad and unwelcome step."
As recently as Wednesday morning, top mayoral aides talked
with AFSCME and made it clear the city remained open to an agreement
that matched the terms accepted by 25 of the city's 27 unions.
The two-year deal calls for their members to take 24 unpaid
furlough days through June 30, 2011, substitute comp time for cash
overtime and convert all city holidays - nine-a-year for hourly
employees and 12 for those with monthly salaries - to unpaid days.
"Everybody has to be in the boat together. You can't leave people out," the mayor said.
Tom Clair, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 726, said he
it pains him to know that Wednesday is the last day on the job for 141
of his members - most of them truck drivers in the Departments of
Streets and Sanitation, Transportation, Water Management and Aviation.
But, Clair said snow plow drivers routinely called out in the
middle of the night were simply not willing to trade cash overtime for
"During the winter program, our people work snow. They also
work out on the runways at O'Hare [Airport]. They felt it was too big a
hit on the comp time. That accounts for $15,000-to-$30,000 more a year.
They weren't willing to give that up," Clair said.
Clair predicted that Chicagoans would feel the impact of the
layoffs in basic housekeeping services like garbage pick-ups,
tree-trimming and repairs of water main breaks.
"There's gonna be problems....There's already a shortage of
drivers in different departments - particularly Streets and San," he
Deputy Budget Director Andrea Gibson countered that the 141
laid off Teamsters represent a "small component" of the union's
"We have specific plans in place with each department to make
sure we don't have much of a service impact at all. We're gonna
schedule and manage our shipments very carefully. We're going to change
some crew configurations to minimize our reliance on the Teamsters,"
AFSCME issued a prepared statement, saying its members
rejected the mayor's demand for "what amounts to a 10 percent" pay cut
by a 4-to-1 margin.
"We regret that Mayor Daley today will choose to lay off city
workers and reduce city services rather than agree to our reasonable
alternative," the union said.
"The mayor's decision will cause great hardship for these
workers and their families and will further reduce city
services...especially in the Police Department, the libraries and the
The 290 AFSCME layoffs are spread across 30 city departments.
But, nearly half will come at Chicago Public Libraries at a time when
library usage is up 30 percent because of the prolonged recession.
"You may not see your books back on the shelf as quickly as
you're used to seeing them. If you place a book on hold, you may not
get it as quickly because it's moving through the system more slowly.
Everybody else will be working that much harder," said Library
Commissioner Mary Dempsey.
Daley initially threatened to lay off 1,504 employees across
28 departments if organized labor did not agree to cost-cutting
concessions that would save the city $34 million by Dec. 31 and $76