Moody's Investors Service, one of the nation's top bond credit agencies, has upgraded
Arizona's credit outlook from "negative" to "stable." This rating improvement arrives on the heels of Standard & Poor's announcement late last year, when the credit ratings service similarly upgraded the outlook for the State's fiscal condition, certificates of participation and lease revenue debt.
"This is wonderful news for Arizona," said Governor Jan Brewer. "In the past two months, two of the country's largest credit ratings services have recognized the great fiscal strides Arizona has made since 2009.
This is all-the-more impressive when you consider it was only a year ago that the state faced a billion-dollar budget deficit."
Moody's attributes its outlook revision primarily to "significant improvement" in the State's budget and overall liquidity. Moody's report denotes the following as Arizona's greatest financial strengths:
- Significant improvement in the State's overall liquidity;
- Stabilization of the State's budget position, including projected surpluses for fiscal years 2012
- Pension funding ratios above the median of other states.
Moody's announcement is just the latest validation that Arizona's economy and financial position are on the mend. Recently-released numbers show that, over the 12-month period between December 2010 and December 2011, Arizona's job growth ranked 11th best in the nation. Additionally, the state's unemployment rate is the lowest it has been since February 2009.
"Our work is far from over," said Governor Brewer. "But this week's announcement from Moody's is further validation of the difficult budget decisions we've made and new evidence of Arizona's improving economy. This is fantastic news to carry us into our 100th year of Statehood.