FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 21, 2011
CONTACT: Matthew Benson
Standard and Poor’s Upgrades Credit Outlook for State of Arizona
Latest Indication that the Arizona Comeback is in Progress
PHOENIX – One of the nation’s largest credit ratings services, Standard and Poor’s, announced today that it has upgraded to “stable” its outlook on the State of Arizona’s fiscal condition. S&P also upgraded to “stable” its outlook on the State’s certificates of participation and lease revenue debt.
State of Arizona finances previously carried a negative outlook from the credit ratings service.
“This is fantastic news, and serves as one more indication that Arizona is on the comeback trail,” said Governor Jan Brewer. “The last three years haven’t been easy. But I’m happy to say that the difficult decisions I’ve made, together with the Arizona Legislature, have helped put this state back on solid financial ground. For the first time in years, Arizona has a growing economy and a state government it can afford.”
In announcing the credit outlook revision, S&P pointed to the State of Arizona’s diverse economy, continued population growth, moderate debt burden and expectations of a sizable budget surplus in fiscal 2012.
“We base the outlook revision on what we view as Arizona’s improving fiscal outlook,” S&P credit analyst David Hitchcock explained in today’s report.
The S&P announcement is just the latest sign of the state’s improving economy and financial position. In other recent news:
– Arizona added 12,800 jobs in November, driving down the state’s unemployment rate to 8.7 percent. The rate is the state’s lowest since February 2009.
– Arizona has added an estimated 45,800 jobs so far this year. The state’s job growth from October 2010 to October 2011 ranked 7th best nationally, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
– State revenues continue to outpace projections, and the Governor’s Office of Strategic Planning and Budgeting now estimates a combined surplus of $1.3 billion between the remainder of this fiscal year and next.
“Our mission isn’t accomplished, but today’s announcement from S&P is validation that we’re on the right path,” said Governor Brewer. “We’re going to keep state government small, efficient and effective, and continue working to put in place the conditions for private enterprise to flourish and grow. I believe that 2012, Arizona’s Centennial year, is going to bring more great news for the people of our state.”