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February 23, 2011

Maryland retains coveted AAA bond rating

Maryland remains one of eight states with the highest possible credit rating, a reflection, Gov. Martin O'Malley said this morning, of "tough choices" and "fiscal responsibility."

Moody's, Standard & Poor's and Fitch assigned the state its AAA rating in preparation for the sale of $485 million in general obligation bonds next month.

Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp said the assessment shows that Maryland's fiscal picture is "basically strong with a recovering economy." The treasurer, who is up for reappointment tomorrow by the General Assembly, praised the Democratic governor and legislature for tackling long-term debt issues like the pension system and health care. 

Republicans quickly dispatched statements saying the rating is more a measure of the agencies' belief that Marylanders are amenable to higher taxes. "All a AAA bond rating means is you are willing to raise Any tax, Anytime, on Anyone," Eastern Shore Republican Del. Michael Smigiel posted on his Twitter account.

In its report, Moody's said its rating "reflects Maryland's strong financial management policies, stable economy with high personal income levels and ability to maintain positive available reserves despite sustained pressure on its budget."

The report says Moody's rating also accounted for "the state's above-average debt burden and low retirement system funding levels."

Posted by Julie Bykowicz at 11:19 AM | | Comments (9)
Categories: Administration


Do any of the tea-hadists realize that a AAA rating means that the state has a healthy budget?

It can pay down debt easily without being charged high interest rates, and borrow funds at low interest rates as well.

And best of all, the AAA rating shows that it is worthwhile to invest in Maryland and start a business since we have our fiscal house in order.

Seriously, why does this positive development immediately have to be tainted by inane attempts by one party to diminish the other? For a change of pace, there is good news, good financial news, in a tough economy but that is lost on those who can't spin the good news in their favor, instantly making them detractors. Save it and spare everyone. I think most people by now are tired of all of the jockeying going on in every level of legislature. Instead of tearing down the other side, why not try to build on what has been accomplished so that you might make claim to those achievements? Although now it seems like a contest to see which party can demolish the other party's progress most utterly and persistently, it can just as easily be a competition of one-upmanship to see which party can excel over the other in making positive change.

Also, note that, even though this article is an instance of Republicans bashing Democrats, Democrats and Republicans aren't mentioned in this post, because frankly I don't care who it is, both parties can stand to shut the typical political BS off and start working toward something better.

Maryland has a 1.6 billion dollar deficit, another round of tax increases looming and Daniel proclaims Maryland has its financial house in order?
What are you smoking Daniel?
Maryland is taxing its middle class into oblivion and scaring off potential employers with its high taxes and plethora of regulations.

Hey Moodys! Aren't they the guys who gave AAA ratings to all those sub-prime mortgage backed securities? Yeah they know what they're talking about.

Daniel you are absolutely correct. Anyone with any financial savvy knows how much an AAA bond rating saves a municipality. And every state has a deficit, high unemployment equals less tax revenue which over time will cause a budget deficit. Some poeple watch too much Fox News.

Pause--not included in the news release was the ratings agencies placed Maryland on warning that our rating could change if we did not end the practice of raiding funds to cover our balance as they do not believe this is a sustainable practice. Why doesn't the Sun publish their warnings to us?

Bigdaddy Raven I do not watch Fox news. I am a registered Democrat who is so tired of paying these sky high taxes just for the pleasure of living in Baltimore. It is not just conservatives who are tired of Annapolis's tax and spend ways sir.

It is in everyone's interest to keep our AAA debt rating. However, the $35 B shortfall on pension and retiree healthcare funding in combination with reaching the State's debt limit in FY 2016 may downgrade the rating. A downgrade will cost tens of millions of dollars in additional debt service costs. We need to curb our spending for a couple of years until the economy fully recovers. This is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it is anissue of fiscal responsibility.

I wish the Sun would find someone other than the Eastern Shore's resident fools, Delegate Smigiel and Sen. Pipkin, to quote. I know that one of the most dangerous places to be in Annapolis is standing between Pipkin or Smigiel and a TV camera. But I do expect more from the Sun.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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