Maine Governor Announces Strong Credit Rating

Posted on July 1, 2022Comments Off on Maine Governor Announces Strong Credit Rating

Governor Mills, Treasurer Beck Announce Moody’s and S&P Affirm Maine’s Strong Credit Rating

Governor Janet Mills and State Treasurer Henry Beck announced today that Moody’s Investors Service and S&P Global Ratings, global companies that analyze and issue reports of credit worthiness, have affirmed their strong credit ratings and stable outlooks on the State of Maine’s general obligation debt.  Moody’s affirmed both their Aa2 rating and stable outlook while S&P affirmed their AA rating and stable outlook.

In its affirmation, S&P praised Maine’s “prudent expenditure management” and “measured approach to budget management with an emphasis on proactive structural solutions.”  Moody’s stated that Maine’s “financial position has improved markedly over the last year” and that the Rainy Day Fund has grown significantly.  S&P described projected Rainy Day Fund levels as “very strong.”

Moody’s and S&P have reaffirmed Maine’s credit ratings every year since Governor Mills and Treasurer Beck took office, including during the pandemic when at least 22 states’ ratings and outlooks were downgraded (PDF).

“These positive ratings confirm our good fiscal management of the State.  Maine’s budget is balanced, our Rainy Day Fund is at a record high, our economy has made one of the best comebacks in the nation, and we have delivered one of the strongest relief measures in the nation,” said Governor Janet Mills.  “We will continue to make sure that Maine State Government meets its obligations to Maine people while living within its means.”

“Maine’s financial position is strong thanks to the hard work of Maine people and businesses and deliberate, specific choices made by Governor Mills and the Legislature,” said Henry Beck, Maine State Treasurer.  “Governor Mills has doubled the Rainy Day Fund with state dollars; she has protected the Rainy Day Fund and only grown it and never reduced it.”

In May 2020 and May 2021, amid the pandemic, S&P praised Maine’s “active budget management” and the State’s “steady progress in strengthening its reserve profile” while noting that the State’s cash pool is “very good.”  Moody’s stated that Maine has a “strong financial position with adherence to governance best practices.”

Maine has a balanced budget and has recorded a record surplus, with Governor Mills and the Legislature giving back more than half of it to Maine taxpayers in the form of $850 relief checks to help them grapple with the impacts of inflation.  Governor Mills and the Legislature have also more than doubled the Budget Stabilization or “Rainy Day” Fund to a record high of $493 million.

Under Governor Mills’ leadership, Maine’s GDP growth over the past three years is 11th best in the nation and the unemployment rate has dropped to 3.2 percent – below the New England and U.S. averages.

“Today’s positive ratings are a testament to this Administration’s disciplined budgeting approach, saving as a hedge against economic uncertainty, and our focus on supporting Maine people,” said Kirsten Figueroa, Commissioner for the Department of Administrative & Financial Services.

Governor Mills’ fiscal prudence has also prevented the need for further bonding.  In recent budgets, Governor Mills and the Legislature have transferred more than $205.9 million to the Department of Transportation – an unprecedented General Fund investment to improve Maine’s transportation infrastructure – preventing for the first time in years the need to bond for transportation money.

Treasurer Beck, Commissioner Figueroa, the State Economist, and other members of the Executive Branch presented to Moody’s and S&P via telephone on May 23, 2022.

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