The state of Illinois lost $53 million in a recent bond sale, according to a new report by the University of Illinois Institute of Government and Public Affairs (IGPA). Researchers found that Illinois missed out on the funds due to its dismal finances.
On January 14, the state sold $480 million in general obligation bonds due to a "financial difficulty penalty." If the state's finances don't improve, the penalty "could more than double in future years," with the figure reaching more than $400 million annually if future capital needs are considered.
"This analysis aims to quantify the costs of Illinois' deteriorating fiscal health in the bond markets, what we are calling a 'financial condition penalty.'" said Martin J. Luby, an IGPA expert who worked on the analysis. "Analyzing the relative bond prices the state receives in the financial markets over time allows us to assess how investors perceive the state's changing financial condition."
Luby looked at the January bond sale and compared it to one made in 2006, when the state was in better financial health and the credit rating was much higher.
"The January sale brought actual prices that ranged between 98 percent and 114 percent of par value. Using the counterfactual conditions from 2006, the prices would have ranged between 104 percent and 127 percent of the par amount," the report's news brief reads. "Based on these individual bond prices, the total dollars the state received for the 2016 bonds was just over $514.9 million, nearly $53 million less than it would have received had the bonds carried the relative prices of 10 years ago."
IGPA officials hope the data will motivate lawmakers to move forward in coming to an agreement on the state's budget and improving Illinois' finances altogether.
"Putting a dollar amount on the impact of the state's financial condition hopefully helps policymakers and the public better understand the costs of the state's lack of action in improving its fiscal health," said Luby.
"This analysis adds to the mountain of evidence that Illinois is in very perilous financial straits," Christopher Z. Mooney, director of IGPA, added. "Never has it been more imperative that our state's leaders work together to solve our fiscal woes -- before they get even further out of hand."