Rating Agencies Affirm Maryland’s Triple-A Bond Rating, But Note Fiscal Challenges

State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp recently announced that all three bond rating agencies, Moody’s Investors, Fitch Ratings, and Standard and Poor’s, reaffirmed Maryland’s triple-A bond rating.  This has been done in preparation for a General Obligation Bond sale, which will take place at the Board of Public Works meeting on August 1, 2012.  From the press release:

Treasurer Kopp said, “Today’s recognition of Maryland’s fiscal strength and prudent management is welcome news. While Maryland has historically received AAA ratings from the three major bond rating agencies, given the national uncertainties surrounding both the federal deficit and the economic recovery, we are pleased the rating analysts recognize Maryland’s strong, stable and prudent financial management.”

“Retention of the Triple AAA ratings allows us to continue to save millions of taxpayer dollars resulting from the low interest rates achieved because of these ratings,” Treasurer Kopp said.

However, all three rating agencies noted fiscal challenges tied to the economy and the state’s pension liabilities. As reported by MarylandReporter.com:

The big three New York bond rating agencies last week again affirmed Maryland’s almost sacred triple-A bond rating, attributing the decades-old stamp of approval to a strong economy, high incomes, prudent fiscal management and a willingness to raise taxes.

But as they have for recent bond issues, the three agencies said the state government continues to face financial challenges from its above-average pension liabilities and likely federal budget cuts, along with an increasingly sluggish economy.

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