RALEIGH — State Treasurer Dale Folwell announced Monday all three major national bond rating agencies have reaffirmed North Carolina’s AAA bond rating, noting the state’s strong economic growth and diversification, conservative fiscal management, rainy day fund and other reserves, as well as low liabilities.
North Carolina is one of 13 states that have a AAA rating, the highest rating possible, with all major rating agencies.
The ratings were assigned, in part, in preparation for the fourth issuance of $2 billion worth of voter-approved General Obligation Public Improvement (Connect NC) bonds for capital and infrastructure improvement projects across 17 University of North Carolina campuses and other state projects.
The prior three issuances from 2016, 2018 and 2019 totaled $1.2 billion. This fourth issuance will be for $400 million and is expected to be offered Thursday, Oct. 8.
“Having the rating agencies affirm our ‘AAA’ bond ratings during these volatile economic times is a credit to the taxpayers of North Carolina and the North Carolina General Assembly for their strong fiscal management,” Mr. Folwell said. “Maintaining our “AAA’ rating will help us finance debt at the lowest possible rates, making more money available for public education, public roads and the other core functions of government.”
Other highlights include:
· S&P Global Ratings noted North Carolina’s 2019-20 budgetary environment is better than anticipated because of stronger-than-forecast economic activity compared to the state’s conservative forecasting.
· Moody’s Investors Service noted the state’s diverse economy, a history of strong conservative fiscal practices, healthy reserves and low debt and pension burdens.
· Fitch Ratings referenced that North Carolina is well positioned to address economic downturns with an exceptionally strong ability to close budget gaps.