Wisconsin won a one-notch credit ratings upgrade to ‘Aa1’ from Moody’s Investors Service on Friday despite the state’s fiscal 2018-19 biennial budget being overdue.
The action affects about $8 billion of outstanding general obligation bonds, according to the credit ratings agency.
“The upgrade to ‘Aa1’ reflects the proven fiscal benefits of the state’s approach to granting and funding pension obligations when many other states are experiencing stress from rising costs and heavy liabilities; an economy that delivers steady but moderate growth; conservatively managed budgets, and adequate liquidity,” Moody’s said in a statement.
While Wisconsin began its new fiscal biennium on July 1, its Republican-controlled legislature has yet to pass a spending plan as lawmakers debate how to fund transportation projects and consider a $3 billion package of incentives for a new LCD screen plant by Taiwan’s Foxconn.
“We don’t consider occasional late budgets as having a credit impact,” said David Jacobson, a Moody’s spokesman.
Wisconsin’s Republican Governor Scott Walker hailed the upgrade, the first for the state from Moody’s since 1973, as an affirmation of its “fiscal stability driven by bold reforms and accountable stewardship of the taxpayer’s dollar.”
Wisconsin’s credit ratings with S&P Global Ratings and Fitch Ratings are a notch lower at ‘AA’.