Chicago’s Financial Outlook Upgraded to Stable By S&P

by John McPhaul, The Chicago Times

November 8, 2021

CHICAGO — Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings has upgraded the City of Chicago’s outlook to “stable” from “negative” and assigned the city a BBB+ long-term rating.  This comes on the heels of Fitch upgrading the City’s outlook to stable last week, as well as Kroll and Moody’s earlier this summer.

S&P noted the City’s ability to address the pandemic’s short-term pressures without a significant deterioration in its financial position in their report.  According to S&P, the City’s renewed fiscal discipline, new revenue streams, and elimination of practices such as annual scoop-and-toss refundings are encouraging moves toward stability.  Furthermore, the City has developed a “credible path to structural balance,” which includes phasing out major one-time revenue sources after 2022 and climbing a $1 billion pension contribution increase over the last three years.

The City Council passed the 2022 Budget on October 27, 2021, with the support of several organizations, including The Civic Federation, which notes its support for key elements of the FY2022 budget, such as funding all four pension funds based on actuarial calculations, finalizing various collective bargaining agreements, relative restraint on tax increases, reduced use of reserves, cancellation of scoop and toss, and the community engagement process.