August 13, 2016 |
Pennsylvania on Wednesday borrowed $1.2 billion by selling general-obligation bonds at what Gov. Wolf's office called a "true interest cost" of 2.75 percent. That sounds cheap, if you compare it with mortgages or credit cards. It would have been cheaper, if Pennsylvania had a top AAA credit rating, like Maryland or Delaware, instead of the third-worst among U.S. states (still better than Illinois and New Jersey, according to Moody's). Pennsylvania's new 20-year bonds sold at 0.62 percent more than what AAA-rated states had to pay last week, according to Thomson-Reuters Municipal Market Data compiled by Alan Schankel, managing director at Janney Capital Markets in Philadelphia.
August 4, 2016 |
Standard & Poor's Global Ratings cut the Philadelphia Housing Authority's credit rating by one notch, to A+ from AA-, citing three consecutive years of operating losses. The outlook is stable. PHA's operating loss for the 12 months ended March 31, 2015, the latest audited financial information available, was $37.9 million on $368 million in operating revenue, most of it from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. S&P attributed the financial weakness to declining federal subsidies, though federal revenue increased 5 percent in fiscal 2015 from the year before.
June 30, 2016 |
S&P Global Ratings downgraded Ursinus College's credit rating by one notch, to 'BBB+' from 'A-', citing the Collegeville institution's plans to take on $23 million in additional debt this fall to build a facility for interdisciplinary academic programs. Ursinus had $42.5 million in debt at the end of fiscal 2015. The additional debt means that the college will no longer meet S&P's criteria for the higher rating, S&P said. The New York ratings agency also mentioned "weakened demand" and "continual enrollment uncertainty" in its downgrade, though it said the outlook was stable.
June 28, 2016
There is an unfamiliar atmosphere approaching civility in Harrisburg these days. Gov. Wolf spent last week saying he isn't asking for hikes in sales or income taxes to balance this year's budget despite having insisted on both last year. This so pleased House Speaker Mike Turzai (R., Allegheny) that he tweeted the self-congratulatory message "Applauding @GovernorTomWolf statement that we've said and done for years: We can balance #PABudget without a broad-based tax increase. " Though somewhat misleading, Turzai's tweet was a grand departure from his antics during the previous budget season, which culminated when he dismissed the House rather than vote on a deal he had agreed to. Now bills chipping away at the budget and related issues are moving through the legislature without overt power struggles between the Democratic governor and Republican legislative leadership.
May 29, 2016 |
If the Federal Reserve raises interest rates later this year as expected, Philadelphia says its finances are braced for the fiscal fallout. The city owes $3.3 billion on its general-obligation and service-agreement debt, says Rasheia Johnson , the former Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. investment banker appointed city treasurer this year under Mayor Kenney . Of that total, just $219 million, or less than 7 percent, is floating-rate debt...
April 6, 2016 |
Citing the likelihood of another impasse over the next state budget, Moody's Investor Services has affirmed its negative credit rating for the Philadelphia School District. Moody's highlighted the district's recent efforts to stabilize the finances of the city's schools. But the credit opinion released Friday said that the continued "Ba3" rating for the district's debt "reflects the continued uncertainty surrounding" the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 and the potential impact it could have on the district's finances and ability to borrow money.
March 24, 2016 |
Moody's Investors Service upgraded the University of Pennsylvania's credit rating by one notch to its second highest level. The New York ratings agency, in a report published Monday, cited the West Philadelphia institution's growing wealth relative to peers, expected successful integration of Lancaster General Hospital into its health system, and limited borrowing plans. The new rating is Aa1, up from Aa2. Penn, which employed 37,149 in Philadelphia last fall, making it the city's largest private employer by far, has had steady gains in operating margins and what Moody's called "superior donor support with $322 million in gift revenue" in the year ended June 30. Among Penn's other strengths is net tuition per student of $37,465, a measure of cash paid after financial aid. That ranked close to the top of all U.S. universities, Moody's said, and was driven by professional programs in business, medicine, law, nursing, and education.
March 14, 2016
The spectacular failure of Gov. Wolf and the legislature to deliver a budget has put every home, business, and school in Pennsylvania at risk. Without a better resolution to Pennsylvania's nine-month budget crisis, there are only bad choices to make: Raise property taxes. Cut programs for the most vulnerable citizens - the elderly, disabled, and young. Lay off school workers, and perhaps shutter schools, before June. It's been weeks since legislative leaders and Wolf met face to face.
March 6, 2016 |
Pennsylvania is racing New Jersey to the bottom as Standard & Poor's considers another reduction in the Keystone State's credit rating. S&P has threatened to cut Pennsylvania's AA-minus rating for general obligation debt by one or more notches. In a report to clients this week, the agency cited the state's "failure to pass a budget package for fiscal 2016 that addresses long-term structural balance" - financial-analyst code for the state's seeming inability to agree on boosting its cash reserves or lining up pension-fund income with the relatively generous checks paid to hundreds of thousands of retirees.
February 22, 2016
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