The Walker Administration announced Thursday that Fitch Ratings upgraded Wisconsin’s bond rating from “AA” to to “AA+.” The move by Fitch Ratings comes a day after the Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) announced a similar upgrade in bond rating.
“This is now the second agency in as many days to upgrade Wisconsin’s outlook, and it shows our reforms are working for Wisconsin,” Governor Scott Walker said. “We proved you can budget responsibly and make strong investments in priorities like education and infrastructure while holding the line on taxes.”
Fitch Ratings said the turning point in Wisconsin’s economic situation was the first state budget after the passage of Act 10. “The fiscal 2011-2013 budget marked a turning point, with extensive structural budget actions and the resolution of several lingering fiscal challenges,” Fitch Ratings said.
Fitch Ratings also took note of Wisconsin’s recent budget surplus:
The forecast for the three year period that included fiscal 2017 as well as the current fiscal 2017-2019 biennium was increased by $454.6 million, reflecting a slightly stronger economic outlook and improved collections. With lower than expected appropriations, particularly in Medicaid, the general fund ended fiscal 2017 with an increase to its fund balance, bringing it to $579 million. The state’s solid cash balances have made it unnecessary to borrow for cash flow purposes since fiscal 2012.
In August, Moody’s Investor Service upgraded Wisconsin’s general obligation rating to Aa1, up from Aa2. According to the Walker Administration, that was the first increase in the state’s bond rating from that agency since 1973.