September 17, 2012

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Article

Utah Retains AAA Bond Rating

Press Release

September 17, 2012

Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert and Treasurer Richard K. Ellis announced the affirmation of the State’s “AAA” general obligation bond rating by all three bonding agencies – Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings. Utah is one of only seven states to earn a AAA bond rating by all three of the rating agencies, also known as a “triple-triple” rating.

“This is no surprise. Utah has a legacy of sterling ratings because of prudent fiscal management and conservative budgeting,” said Herbert. “This is one more example of Utah demonstrating leadership to the nation, especially on the importance of maintaining a balanced budget.”

Treasurer Ellis said, “The tone of the rating agency meetings confirmed that Utah is seen as a leader among the states in fiscal discipline and management.”

Utah’s continuous history of AAA bond ratings dates back to 1965 when Standard & Poor’s initiated its rating system. The State’s AAA rating with Moody’s dates back to 1973, and the Fitch Ratings date back to 1992.

The rationale for Utah’s ratings includes:

  • Strong governmental framework, with a constitutional requirement to maintain a balanced budget and a fiscal policy that allows for changes to the revenue structure and program spending by a simple majority of the legislature
  • A young, well-educated work force, diverse economy, and an unemployment rate that, although at historic highs, remains lower than the national average
  • Continued good financial management, including proactive budget adjustments to maintain adequate “rainy day” reserves
  • Moderate debt burden and rapid amortization of existing debt
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