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."