CHICAGO — As Illinois prepares to offer investors $1.3 billion of general obligation bonds, the pressure on its credit ratings escalated this week with one agency downgrading the state and two warning that further action looms if lawmakers again turn to one-time measures to balance the budget.

The state will take competitive bids tomorrow on $250 million of GOs that mature March 31, 2011. Standard & Poor’s assigned an SP-1 rating and Fitch Ratings its F1, both one notch lower than their top short-term marks, leaving no room for a further downgrade, which would make the paper ineligible for money market funds to hold.

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