Illinois is on track to become the first U.S. state to have its credit rating downgraded to “junk” status, which would deepen its multibillion-dollar deficit and cost taxpayers more for years to come. S&P Global Ratings has warned the agency will likely lower Illinois’ creditworthiness to below investment grade if feuding lawmakers fail to agree on a state budget for a third straight year, increasing the amount the state will have to pay to borrow money for things such as building roads or refinancing existing debt.

The outlook for a deal wasn’t good Saturday, as lawmakers meeting in Springfield for a special legislative session remained deadlocked with the July 1 start of the new fiscal year approaching. That should alarm everyone, not just those at the Capitol, said Brian Battle, director at Performance Trust Capital Partners, a Chicago-based investment firm. “It isn’t a political show,” he said. “Everyone in Illinois has a stake in what’s happening here. One day everybody will wake up and say ‘What happened? Why are my taxes going up so much?'” READ MORE