Volume 3 Number 41
October 9, 2006

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Governor Jeb Bush touted Standard and Poor’s Corporation’s decision to affirm Florida’s “AAA” bond rating in its annual review of the state.  “AAA” is the firm’s highest rating.  Standard and Poor’s cited Florida’s strong, conservative financial and budget management practices in affirming the “AAA” rating, first issued in 2005. 

“Undaunted by eight hurricanes in two years, Florida’s economy is surging. I am pleased to see that Standard and Poor’s has recognized that our low-tax, pro-business approach to government is working for Florida,” said Governor Bush.  “Our reasonable tax structure and record-level financial reserves have also helped to create stability and opportunities for long-term growth, as evidenced by this rating decision.”

Florida’s strong financial position has enabled the state to increase funding for economic development and provide tax relief to residents and businesses.  Florida’s unemployment rate is 3.3 percent, 1.5 percentage points below the national rate of 4.8 percent.  The state continues to be a national model for job creation with an annual job growth rate that is more than twice the national average.

In its credit report released last week, Standard and Poor’s cited several factors in reaffirming the “AAA” rating, including:

  • The state's strong and conservative financial and budget management practices,

  • Strong revenue performance during the past several years,

  • Budget pressures that have been effectively managed as the state continues funding various constitutional amendments and the service demands of a growing population,

  • A service-based economy with growth continuing to outpace the national economy as measured by employment, population and gross state product,

  • Solid long-term economic growth prospects and a strong and competitive position in the Southeast,

  • Average income levels, and

  • A moderate debt burden that should remain stable as a result of legal guidelines regarding debt affordability.

In 2005, two other major rating agencies increased Florida’s credit rating.  Moody’s Investors Service upgraded Florida’s general obligation bond rating from Aa2 to Aa1, marking the first change in the state’s rating since it was initially assigned in the early 1970s.  Fitch Ratings also upgraded the state to its 'AA+' full faith and credit bond rating. 

For more information on Florida’s growing and robust economy, please visit www.myflorida.com.