N.J. credit rating cut record ninth time as Moody’s cites pension shortfall

IMG_5189TRENTON — Moody’s Investors Service has downgraded New Jersey’s debt rating, dealing the Garden State its record ninth ratings cut since Gov. Chris Christie took office. The ratings drop by one notch, from A1 to A2, on $32.2 billion worth of bonds underscores the state’s “weak financial position and large structural imbalance, primarily related to continued… Read the rest of this entry »

Posted: April 17th, 2015 | Author: | Filed under: 2016 Presidential Politics, Chris Christie, Economy, Moodys, New Jersey State Budget | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Bankers Brought Rating Agencies ‘To Their Knees’ On Tobacco Bonds

money-500x250This story was co-published with Marketplace. When the economy nosedived in 2008, it didn’t take long to find the crucial trigger. Wall Street banks had peddled billions of dollars in toxic securities after packing them with subprime mortgages that were sure to default. Behind the bankers’ actions, however, stood a less-visible part of the finance industry… Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: December 24th, 2014 | Author: | Filed under: Economy | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Bankers Brought Rating Agencies ‘To Their Knees’ On Tobacco Bonds

O’Scanlon Blasts Democratic Colleagues, Statehouse Press Corp Over S &P Outlook Spin

The three major credit rating agencies affirmed the credit ratings of New Jersey’s bonds within the last week.   Two of the three, Moody’s and Fitch affirmed the outlook for the State’s credit as stable.  However, while affirming their AA- rating today, Standard and Poor’s lowered their outlook for New Jersey from stable to negative.  S&P’s rationale for lowering their outlook is that they consider Governor Chris Christie’s revenue projections optimistic.

Democratic legislators, Assembly Budget Committee Chairman Vincent Prieto, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Paul Sarlo and Assembly Majority Leader Lou Greenwald, a potential gubernatorial candidate next year, all jumped on the S&P outlook downgrade to score political points against Christie.  The Statehouse Press Corp was happy to advance the negative spin.

Monmouth County’s Declan O’Scanlon, the Assembly Republican Budget Officer, fired back against the Democrats and the media for “crowing” about the S&P report while falling mute over the Fitch and Moody’s reports is a scathing statement:

“My Democrat colleagues are like vultures seeking to pounce on potential prey despite the fact that their appetite will not be satisfied by one agency’s outlook,” said O’Scanlon, R-Monmouth. “They are always ready to jump on what they perceive to be negative news and many in the media buy into their political theatrics. Instead of working with the governor and Republicans in the Legislature, they continue to wait for gloom and doom predictions.

“The conduct and glee from our leading legislative Democrats is remarkable and disturbing. For days, they sat silent when two ratings agencies affirmed New Jersey’s credit rating in response to the Schools Development Corporation bond offering and today are dancing in the streets when a third rating agency – after also maintaining the state’s credit rating – gave an outlier’s opinion and lowered its outlook,” explained O’Scanlon. “To see this kind of political opportunism and rooting for failure from individuals entrusted with some of the highest leadership positions our government offers is disgraceful. Their Swiss cheese, fragmented perception of reality – with the holes miraculously lining up with anything positive about our state’s fiscal condition – is disturbing, but not surprising.”

“That our Statehouse press corps simply gobbles the partisan nonsense up so willingly is also a real disappointment, stated O’Scanlon. “That is especially so when you see them blindly quoting even those lawmakers who so vigorously fought bipartisan pension and benefits reforms in an effort that would have crippled New Jersey’s long-term efforts to fix our long-term economic health.

“Had we followed the path of the very people now attacking the Governor the outlook for the state’s future would be dramatically worse. They cannot, with a straight face, criticize this Governor with any credibility,” said O’Scanlon. “It was this governor that has started to turn our state around – and he had to fight the very people now attacking him in order to do that. The governor and Republicans know we are in a difficult economy and these are risky times. But we are also not afraid to make tough decisions. Previous Democrat administrations talked about tough times, but never took action. Without taking decisive action to fix many of our state’s problems,New Jerseywould be in a financial abyss.

“The Democrats’ are selling a bill of goods to the public and the media which conveniently ignores their eight-year record of expanding government spending and want us to believe their distorted view of reality,” commented O’Scanlon. “We have more work to do in turning our state around, but I am much more confident entrusting our state’s future with the Christie administration than its Democratic predecessors.”


Posted: September 18th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: 2013 Gubernatorial Politics, Art Gallagher, Chris Christie, Declan O'Scanlon, Fitch, Legislature, Moodys, New Jersey State Budget, NJ Media, NJ State Legislature, Standard and Poors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Moody’s Affirms Middletown’s Bond Rating

Moody’s Investors Services has affirmed its AA2 rating on Middletown Township’s $67 million general obligation bonds.

In a statement issued on Friday, March 23, the rating agency said,

“The Aa2 rating reflects the township’s sizable tax base, low debt profile, and sufficient liquidity and reserve levels. The affirmation also considers the township’s narrow fund balance of $2.14 million (or 3.5% of revenues) in fiscal 2010. The primary driver of the $3.70 million fund balance drawdown was due to an influx of negative tax appeal judgments following the 2009 revaluation, which resulted in $1.3 million impact on fund balance. Additionally, decreased state aid and increased health care and retroactive labor salary expenditures further pressured operations. However, in fiscal 2011, new management responsively conducted a reassessment of assessed valuation and reduced the budget by 5.8%. The unaudited year-end fund balance for fiscal 2011 is estimated to be $5.87 million (or roughly 9.2% of revenues). Moody’s expects the township to improve and maintain liquidity and Current Fund balance to reported unaudited figures. Inability to achieve such levels, will result in negative rating credit pressure.”

Moody’s recognised the Township’s prudent management, low debt level with rapid amortization and sizeable tax base with high levels of resident income. 

Mayor Tony Fiore said that he was very pleased by the rating agency’s opinion.  “At a time when many municipalities, including some of our neighbors, are seeing their credit ratings reduced, I am pleased that Moody’s recognised the prudent decisions that our administration has implemented during these most challenging economic times.”

Posted: March 26th, 2012 | Author: | Filed under: Middletown, Tony Fiore | Tags: , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »