In addition, Moody’s Investors Service warned it will likely downgrade Illinois’ credit rating soon. The credit rating agency gave Illinois a “negative” outlook, which is generally considered to be a warning shot before a state’s rating is cut. Illinois is now considered to have a worse credit rating than California. Though both Illinois and California are ranked the lowest in the nation, California is still ranked as stable, while Illinois is on negative outlook.
If Illinois does receive another credit downgrade, it will be the ninth time in Governor Pat Quinn’s time in office that the state has seen its credit rating cut. Illinois saw three credit drops during Rod Blagojevich’s time in office. When Blagojevich took office, Illinois’ credit rating was the highest in its history with one of the three major credit agencies.
NEW LOTTERY CONTRACT BEING PROTESTED
On another contract issue, unsuccessful bidders for the state’s new lottery management contract raised objections to Illinois’ bid process.
Another state contract is coming under fire, with the losing bidders of a lucrative deal to manage Illinois’ lottery program slamming the state’s decision, citing violations of state law and an unfair bidding process.
Camelot Group recently came up short in a bid to win a state lottery contract estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars. The company, which has had lengthy experience managing the United Kingdom National Lottery program, was a finalist but was ultimately passed over for the contract. Both Camelot Group and Intralot, a company that applied for the contract but was eliminated earlier in the selection process, formally filed a protest with the Illinois Department of Revenue.
The selection of Northstar Lottery Group to manage the state’s lottery program had already received public and media scrutiny because of the company’s ties to the current lottery program. Critics questioned the decision to select Northstar, which would amount to the company essentially supervising itself.
Camelot formally protested the bidding process, alleging in its complaint that Illinois officials failed to “create a competitive environment,” which in turn gave unfair advantage to the contract winner, Northstar Lottery. Camelot says that state law required existing lottery contracts to be terminated; however, the state failed to sever current contracts with Northstar, which Camelot contends was to its competitor’s benefit.
Camelot also criticized the state’s untimely release of information and the seeming reluctance of lottery officials to meet with the company. The complaint charged that Northstar unfairly received information much earlier than Camelot did—and that the information was organized by Northstar affiliates. Camelot also criticized the redaction of 400 pages of Northstar’s nearly 700-page final offer. Intralot’s complaint questioned the scoring process used to select the finalists, as well as the ability of the individuals who determined the contract finalists.
The protests will be reviewed by the Illinois Department of Revenue. Depending on the outcome, both companies could pursue additional review in a court of law.
ROAD CONSTRUCTION UPDATES
The Illinois Department of Transportation has announced the schedule for a project in central Illinois, weather permitting.
Work is scheduled to begin September 27 on the modernization of traffic signals at the intersections of US Business 51 and Main Street, US Business 51 and IL Route 54/10 and IL Route 54/10 and Madison Avenue located in Clinton. This project will include modernization of the existing signals, removing and replacing the sidewalk as necessary and interconnecting the signals.
Motorists are advised to slow down and drive carefully through all work zones.
A reminder—as of January 1, it is illegal in Illinois for drivers to talk on their cell phones while driving through a highway construction zone or school zone. The new law also prohibits drivers from writing, sending or reading text messages, instant messages and e-mail, as well as surfing the Web while driving.