Another rating service has endorsed Maine’s financial health, following Thursday’s release of an improved rating from Moody’s Investor Services.
Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has assigned its AA long-term rating and a stable outlook to Maine’s 2014 A and B general obligation bonds, and has affirmed its AA rating and stable outlook on the state’s outstanding general obligation debt.
According to a news release from Gov. Paul LePage’s office, S&P was impressed by Maine’s rapid debt amortization and access to a large cash pool.
The ratings service cited repayment of hospital debt and substantial pension reforms as improvements that offset the accumulated General Fund deficits and unfunded pension ratios on the state’s balance sheets.
It also notes the effort to control costs in the Medicaid program, known as MaineCare, including reductions in income levels for eligibility and the elimination of coverage for childless adults.
It also identified some areas of concern that could harm the state’s credit rating over the next two years.
Those include continued budget challenges, particularly with Medicaid spending, a slow economic recovery and minimal levels in the state’s Rainy Day Fund, according to the release.
On Thursday, Moody’s affirmed its Aa2 rating of Maine’s general obligation debt, and upgraded its outlook on Maine’s debt from “negative” to “stable.”
“Our responsible revenue forecasting model has allowed Maine to avoid the budget shortfalls and subsequent rating downgrades that have troubled other states,” Department of Administrative and Financial Services Acting Commissioner Richard Rosen said in the release.