Davidsmeyer talks state credit rating, decision to reject overtime pay

By Gary Scott on July 13, 2017 at 12:02pm

Among the minority of state lawmakers to reject overtime pay for last month’s special session was local State Representative C.D. Davidsmeyer.

WLDS/WEAI News caught up with Davidsmeyer to discuss his decision to not accept the extra money, as well as S&P’s announcement that they would not downgrade Illinois’ credit rating.

Davidsmeyer first explains why he’s denying the overtime pay for extra time spent at the capitol.

“We’ve gone into overtime sessions and special sessions in the past and I’ve always made the decision that I’m not going to accept that additional pay, the same way that I didn’t accept the pension or the health care. I think we’ve got a job to do, and while I don’t drive the agenda and I don’t make the schedule, I think we should have done the job within the time allotted instead of going into overtime or special session. I don’t think it’s right that we get that additional pay, so that’s why I didn’t take it,” says Davidsmeyer.

The extra pay covers state lawmakers’ extra time in Springfield during last month’s ten-day special session and this month’s time working to pass a state budget. The overtime money also consists of some travel reimbursement. Local State Senator Sam McCann was also among those who rejected the overtime pay.

While lawmakers were able to pass a state budget earlier this month, the nation’s largest credit-rating houses said Illinois’ credit remained in jeopardy. However, S&P’s announced yesterday that it wasn’t ready to downgrade the state’s credit to junk status. Davidsmeyer says that decision comes as a bit of a shock.

“That was a little bit of a surprise. I think Fitch’s originally said that they would look favorably on it, and Moody’s and S&P were saying that the budget may not have enough change to give them reason not to downgrade. Apparently the budget did get them enough reason not to downgrade, but at the same time, we’re going to run into some issues next year that may force it back down,” Davidsmeyer says.

Davidsmeyer explains why a downgrade to junk status would affect Illinois so strongly.

“There’s three main rating agencies: Fitch’s, Moody’s and S&P. Basically, the move to junk status means that certain groups, pension funds and other investment groups, cannot – even if they want to – purchase your bonds. So that’s why junk status means a lot,” says Davidsmeyer.

House Speaker Michael Madigan is calling S&P’s decision not to downgrade Illinois’ credit as a “step in the right direction.” Fitch and Moody’s have yet to come down with their final decision regarding the state’s credit.