Major credit rating agency gives South Carolina highest possible rating of AAA

Monday, February 7, 2011

(Columbia, SC) – State Treasurer Curtis Loftis today announced South Carolina is a national leader when it comes to maintaining high bond ratings with two major credit rating agencies.

Moody’s Investment Services gave the Palmetto State the highest possible AAA rating, praising the state’s sound financial management during the national economic challenges. Standard & Poor’s gave South Carolina an AA Plus rating (AA+). South Carolina is one of 12 states rated in the top category by Moody’s, and is one of 25 states rated AA+ or higher by Standard & Poor’s.

“This strong bond rating reflects the conservative financial nature of South Carolina,” Treasurer Loftis said. “As a businessman, I didn’t borrow more than I could afford and that same belief holds true to the state. While some states try to tax, spend and borrow their way out of economic challenges, we are working hard to stay within our means and remain strong.”

Treasurer Loftis takes seriously the concerns of the bond rating firms. Both noted the state’s underfunded pension plans, high unemployment rates and growing Medicaid costs as signs that adding more debt could create future credit challenges.

According to Standard & Poor’s: “The stable outlook reflects what we consider South Carolina's proactive management, which has contributed to improved financial performance in recent years.”

According to Moody’s Investment Services: “Moody's expects South Carolina's conservative financial management will maintain fiscal stability even in the face of ongoing economic weakness.”

The bond ratings were issued for an upcoming bond sale of more than $126 million to fund building projects at Clemson, USC campuses in Columbia, Aiken and Beaufort, MUSC and Midlands Tech.

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Interim Media Contact:
Edward Frazier
edward.frazier@sto.sc.gov
803.734.2016

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