Reporting from Illinois Public Radio's Brian Mackey used in this report.
Moody's Investors Services has downgraded the credit outlook for the state of Illinois from stable to negative citing the "severe pension funding shortfall."
Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford says Illinois already has the worst credit rating of any state in the US.
"If this doesn't get fixed, then I would hope that those out there that look for services of their Illinois government, to understand that there will be absolutely no ability to increase or even perhaps sustain their funding level," Rutherford said.
Governor Pat Quinn has set a Jan. 9 deadline to overhaul the state's pension system, which is underfunded by an estimated $96 billion.
The ratings agency also says Illinois has long-term weak management practices that are reflected in the state's pension under-funding and bill-payment delays.
Thousands of vendors that provide state services are owed $9 billion in back-due payments.
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