Pa. rating outlook upgraded by Moody’s agency

Ed Gruver//September 11, 2023

Gov. Josh Shapiro announced that Pennsylvania’s rating outlook has improved from stable to positive. PHOTO/PAcast

Pa. rating outlook upgraded by Moody’s agency

Ed Gruver//September 11, 2023

Pennsylvania’s rating outlook has been upgraded to positive and its Aa3 issuer rating reaffirmed, according to the credit rating agency Moody’s. 

Gov. Josh Shapiro said the rating reaffirms that the state is on sound financial footing and that Pennsylvania is on a path for continued economic growth. 

“Together with leaders in both parties, we passed a bipartisan, commonsense budget that makes historic investments in Pennsylvania schools and businesses, supports our law enforcement and first responders, and makes our families healthier,” Shapiro said in a statement. 

“I’m proud that Pennsylvania has been recognized for our sound financial management – and my administration will keep working to grow our economy and ensure the commonwealth’s fiscal outlook remains strong.” 

As Pennsylvania’s previous rating had been “Stable”, the governor’s office issued a release stating the upgrade to “Positive” affirms that the state’s economy and budgeting practices are solid. Pennsylvania’s positive outlook is based on what Moody’s described as “the significant increase in budget reserves over the past three fiscal years to levels consistent with higher rated peers. We expect that core rainy day reserves will remain near current levels due to sound budget management and continued steady revenue growth.”  

The assessment is one of several metrics of the state’s economy and fiscal stability, but according to Moody’s, it’s an important measurement of Pennsylvania’s financial outlook. 

State Senator Scott Martin, R-Lancaster, credited the upgrade to Senate Republicans resisting calls for billions in new spending and taxes and fought for more responsible and sustainable approaches to budgeting. 

“We made it a top priority over the past three years to build up our Rainy Day Fund and avoid recklessly draining fund balances and budgetary reserves,” said Martin. “We also avoided dangerous pitfalls like spending one-time emergency funds on recurring expenses. It is encouraging to know that all these responsible decisions are making a real difference. 

“We have done everything in our power to protect taxpayer dollars and put our commonwealth on better financial footing, and this announcement shows that we are on the right track. This news confirms that Pennsylvania is stronger today because of the tough choices we have made over the past several years. It also serves as a valuable reminder that we shouldn’t deviate from that path in the years ahead.”

Secretary of the Budget Uri Monson said sound financial management makes a difference in the lives of Pennsylvanians every day, adding that the rating and upgraded outlook “affirm that the Shapiro Administration is making responsible decisions to ensure fiscal stability for our commonwealth.”

Shapiro also announced that Pennsylvania has received the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the Annual Budget for fiscal year 2023-24 and the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association. According to a press release from the governor’s office, the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.