Cutting off Illinois water

Major lender says no more.

For years, Illinois has found the municipal-bond market open whenever it needs to raise money, despite budget deficits, worst-in-the-nation pension shortfalls and a political paralysis so severe it’s headed for a second year without even a blueprint for what it should be spending.

It’s about time to shut the doors on the state, says BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager.

“We as municipal market participants should really be penalizing in some way, by almost not giving them any access to the market,” Peter Hayes, who oversees $119 billion as head of munis at BlackRock, said in New York on Wednesday. “Think about it — they’re a state without a budget, they refuse to pass a budget, they have the lowest funded ratio on their pension of any state, and yet they’re going to come to market and borrow money.”

This from someone who tries to handle other people’s money responsibly. Tries harder, we might say, than many if not most of Illinois’ elected officials.

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