This week, Illinois’ credit rating was downgraded again based primarily on the state’s continuing budget deficit.

Fitch Ratings recently downgraded Illinois, which now has the second-lowest rating in the nation after California. The downgrade comes on the heels of a Moody’s Investors Service downgrade, which tied Illinois with California for the worst-rated state in the nation.

The two downgrades bring the total number of downgrades since early 2009 to eight. Illinois has only been downgraded 17 times in its history, and almost half of those occurred during the last one-and-a-half years.

Credit downgrades serve as independent “report cards” of the state’s finances. The lower the state’s credit rating, the more it costs when the state tries to borrow money. It’s likely that these downgrades will lead to hundreds of millions of dollars in higher interest costs in the future.

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