Fitch rates R.I.'s outlook 'stable'

RHODE ISLAND landed an “outlook stable” grade from Fitch Ratings.
Posted 4/18/12

NEW YORK – Rhode Island landed an “outlook stable” grade from Fitch Ratings.

The global rating agency assigned an “AA” rating to $96.35 million in general obligation bonds from the consolidated capital development loan of 2012.

Fitch also affirmed the “AA” rating of Rhode Island’s $1.19 billion in outstanding state general obligation bonds and an “AA-” rating for the $733.6 million in outstanding appropriation-backed debt.

Overall, the Ocean State was labeled “outlook stable” by the rating agency.

“State-source revenues, particularly sales and personal income taxes, have shown notable improvement in fiscal years 2011 and 2012,” said report.

The rating agency pointed to Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee’s budget as one reason for the state’s stable grade.

Fitch called the state’s financial operations “conservatively managed” and said that significant pension reform has “significantly improved” the liability position.

Rhode Island’s debt ratios are on the high end of the moderate range, with net tax-supported debt of $2.4 billion.

“Despite continued economic weakness, the state’s financial position has shown recent improvement,” said the Fitch report.

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