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Rating agency sours on Illinois' financial outlook

Published: Friday, Jan. 11, 2013 1:09 p.m. CDT

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — A major credit-rating agency says it's relabeling Illinois' financial outlook to "negative" from "stable" based on the state's failure to enact pension reform.

Fitch Ratings adjusted its opinion of Illinois' credit-worthiness Friday. Fitch is one of three agencies that monitor state finances and grades ability to repay debt.

Fitch says the outlook for the state's rating, currently "A," could improve if Illinois can agree to resolve a $96 billion deficit in its pension programs. Gov. Pat Quinn's latest effort fizzled this week.

The outlook gives an indication of how a state's grade might move in the coming months. "Negative" means Fitch could downgrade Illinois' credit. That would mean a higher interest rate to borrow money.

Fitch's Illinois outlook matches that of the two other credit rating companies.

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