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S&P confirms and improves credit outlook for Vermont state bonds and more Latest News Here

Vermont Business Magazine On August 19, 2022, S&P Global Ratings affirmed the AA+ general bond ratings (second highest) from the State of Vermont and revised the rating outlook from negative to stable. Vermont is still the highest rated New England state.

Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce praised the collaborative efforts between the Treasurer’s Office, the General Assembly and the Governor for helping to improve the ratings: “I am pleased with the review of the S&P’s outlook from negative to stable and we are beginning to reap the benefits of the critical investments and pension reforms made by Bill 114. The ratings affirmation also underscores the importance of not only continuing to adhere to our track record of sound financial and good budgeting practices, but also to consider our workforce and demographic trends.

Responding to the announcement, Governor Scott said, This is good news and a sign that our work to strengthen our fiscal fundamentals is moving us in the right direction. I would like to thank Treasurer Pearce for her stewardship in this area, as well as her partnership over the years in meeting some significant financial challenges.

In the ratings report, S&P wrote that the improved outlook is attributed to recent shifts in demographic trends, “pension reforms designed to significantly reduce unfunded liabilities” and historical credit strengths, including regular forecast updates, annual mid-year budget adjustments, consistent reserve levels across economic cycles, and debt affordability monitoring. Vermont received the highest possible score in the financial management category.

For the first time in a decade, in 2021, Vermont’s population growth rate exceeded that of the country. S&P speculated that this represents “an increase in immigration related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as low population density and outdoor recreation opportunities drew those who could work remotely to the State”. S&P also praised Vermont’s population initiatives, including “funding for various programs related to housing, labor and economic development, and child care.” [that] totaled $150 million, $140 million, and $40 million, respectively.

Bill 114, passed in the 2022 legislative session, is estimated to save $2 billion in combined pensions and unfunded OPEB (retiree health care) liabilities associated with the employee retirement system. Vermont State (VSERS) and the Vermont State Teachers Retirement System (VSTRS).

“Our goal is to maintain a strong AA rating and eventually achieve a AAA rating. Today’s rating from S&P is a welcome step, but we must continue to work together on solutions to Vermont’s challenges and maintain the our credit forces process,” said Treasurer Pearce.

Montpelier, VT August 19, 2022 State Treasurer.

S&P Confirms and Improves Credit Outlook for Vermont State Bonds and Latest Update

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