CHICAGO — Moody's Investors Service said Monday it views Illinois' successful sale of $1.46 billion of tobacco bonds to pay down overdue bills as a credit positive even though the borrowing falls into the deficit financing category that rating analysts typically frown on.

In Illinois' case, however, the positives of the sale outweigh the negatives because the fiscal 2011 budget relies on the tobacco issue to help pay off fiscal 2010 bills by a state-mandated Dec. 31 deadline. The state has a backlog of nearly $6.4 billion in bills, including $1.18 billion incurred in the last fiscal year, which ended June 30. Moody's rates the state's general obligation debt A1 with a negative outlook.

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