For Immediate Release - September 20, 2011

Standard and Poor's Upgrades Massachusetts' Credit Rating

AA+ Rating Indicative of Strong Fiscal Confidence in Commonwealth

State leaders today announced that Standard and Poor's (S&P) has upgraded the credit rating for Massachusetts to AA+ from AA, signaling a strong vote of confidence in the management of the state's fiscal affairs. The state presently has ratings of Aa1 from Moody's and AA+ from Fitch. Taken together, this set of ratings gives Massachusetts its highest credit standing in history.

"Standard and Poor's has recognized that the Commonwealth is a good investment and, frankly, we've earned it," said Governor Patrick. "Working together with the Treasurer and the Legislature, we've managed the budget well through these tough times. This upgrade rewards that by making our critical investments in our schools, roads and bridges, and housing more affordable. We have shown that you can still invest in our future while balancing the books, and that doing both is the best way to better times."

"At a time of turmoil in the financial markets and economic uncertainty at the federal level, Massachusetts has distinguished itself through fiscal discipline and responsible management," said Treasurer Steven Grossman. "S&P clearly saw these traits in our approach toward fiscal stewardship and responded accordingly. I applaud the steadfast commitment of the Patrick Administration, the Legislature, and other key financial leaders who worked shoulder-to-shoulder to earn this significant upgrade."

"We are grateful that the steps we have taken to live within our means and responsibly change the way government does business are being noticed by the rating agencies and paying off for taxpayers. High bond ratings mean millions of dollars of savings for the Commonwealth and a greater capacity to invest in our future," said Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez.

Last week, Governor Patrick, Treasurer Grossman, Secretary Gonzalez, Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and other top state fiscal managers hosted a series of conversations with the country's three credit rating agencies.

"I am very happy to hear about Standard & Poor's decision today to upgrade our bond rating to AA+," Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. "This is a direct result of the responsible steps we've taken in Massachusetts since 2008. We have been fiscally responsible, taking the tough votes, making difficult cuts and protecting our reserves, and we have amassed a record of reform legislation that I would put up against any state. And, in the Senate, we have worked collaboratively with other branches to move through important issues that will spur economic development and bring jobs to Massachusetts. I am very proud of our record in Massachusetts, and I hope that our presentation to the three rating agencies in early September helped Standard & Poor's with their decision to upgrade the Commonwealth."

"I am truly excited and proud to hear that that S & P has upgraded its credit rating for Massachusetts from AA to AA+," said Speaker Robert DeLeo (D) Winthrop. "Coming during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, this recognition demonstrates the teamwork and sound fiscal management of the leaders of our state. In the long term, this will save the Commonwealth money that can be used for other important purposes. Governor Patrick, Treasurer Grossman, Senate President Murray, Chairmen Dempsey and Brewer and Secretary Gonzalez deserve kudos for working so hard to help this happen."

During the meeting last week with S&P, state leaders made a strong case for the new classification, albeit in an environment where credit rating agencies are generally taking a cautious approach toward upgrades. Several recent initiatives were cited as justification for the upgrade, such as legislative consensus on the need for pension reform and on bringing the state's "Rainy Day" reserve fund to over $1 billion.

Standard and Poor's decision will substantially improve Massachusetts' competitive position when it goes to market with $475 million worth of bonds this coming Wednesday, September 21 st, potentially savings tens of millions of dollars.

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