BATON ROUGE – Today, Fitch Ratings assigned an “AA” rating to $449 million in Louisiana general obligation (GO) bonds that are expected to sell competitively on March 1, 2012. In addition, Fitch affirmed the state’s overall credit rating of “AA” for its outstanding GO bonds. Fitch also described Louisiana’s rating outlook as “stable.”
Among its reasons for assigning the ratings, Fitch stated that Louisiana’s “financial management has been solid.” Louisiana’s credit profile, according to Fitch, “reflects the sound financial management demonstrated by the state,” including “a focus on spending control and maintenance of still solid reserves.”
Fitch noted that “Louisiana’s economic recovery has been steady, with year over year employment gains since December 2010, currently surpassing the national average,” adding that the state “has had some recent success with economic development efforts that support diversification.”
Governor Bobby Jindal said, “Our reforms have reduced the size and cost of government while setting Louisiana on a path for strong economic prosperity. Indeed, Louisiana’s economy continues to outperform the South and the nation, and our unemployment rate has remained well below the national and Southern averages every month since the beginning of our administration. Today’s news is a sign of the progress we are making, but we still have more work to do to put state government on a more sustainable path and to expand educational and economic opportunities for every Louisianian.”
In the two years of 2008 and 2009, Fitch twice upgraded Louisiana’s credit rating (which was an “A” prior to that time). The upgrades marked the first time that Louisiana’s credit rating has received a rating from Fitch above the single “A” range since Fitch began rating Louisiana in 1997.
In May of 2011, Standard & Poor’s raised Louisiana’s credit rating from “AA-minus” to “AA.” The upgrade gave Louisiana its first “AA” rating from S&P since 1984, and S&P’s upgrade was the sixth credit-rating upgrade among all three major credit-rating agencies Louisiana has received since 2008.