Maryland kept its coveted AAA bond rating this week, an accomplishment that allows it to continue borrowing cash more cheaply than most states.
Gov. Martin O'Malley heralded the rating from New York bond agencies Tuesday as proof of his sound fiscal stewardship of Maryland. He pointed out that only seven states kept a credit rating that high throughout the recession.
"Fiscal responsibility, and taking a balanced approach to investments and cuts, are essential to strengthening our economy," O'Malley said in a statement. He added that "the major bond rating agencies endorsed our fiscally responsible approach."
The rating agencies — Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's — pointed to Maryland's high income, low unemployment and willingness to both cut budgets and raise taxes during tight financial times as some of factors behind the bond rating.
O'Malley persuaded the Board of Public Works last week to trim more than $80 million in planned spending from the state's budget because of lackluster economic forecasts.
State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp issued a statement that said Maryland has received AAA bond ratings from all three ratings for more than two decades: from Fitch since 1993, from Moody's since 1973 and from Standard & Poor's since 1941. She said nine other states currently have AAA ratings.
Maryland will sell $800 million in bonds throughout July including a first offering of $100 million in bonds to be sold directly to Maryland residents instead of institutions. The balance will be sold at auction, and the proceeds will be used to pay for state construction projects.