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Ratings indicate state is doing some things right

There is plenty of reason to complain about what’s happening in Columbus these days, but state officials and lawmakers must be doing at least some things right, if a ratings upgrade by Fitch Ratings is any indication. Fitch upgraded the state’s long-term issuer default rating to AAA from AA+; its $4.5 billion in outstanding general obligation bonds to AAA from AA+; its $1.5 billion in outstanding appropriation-backed bonds to AA+ from AA; and the programmatic rating of the Ohio School District Credit Enhancement Program to AA+ from AA.

That is welcome news, indeed.

Fitch said the move “reflects material strengthening of the state’s financial resilience and budget management …” and that “Ohio has achieved a sustained trend of balanced finances over the past decade coupled with more recent growth in fiscal reserves and cash balances.”

In fact, Fitch said the upgrade factored in “the state’s proven ability to absorb the effects of economic cyclicality and tax policy changes.” And, it said the ratings were “supported by a long track record of conservative revenue forecasting and cautious budgetary management.”

Among praise for Ohio’s efforts in recent years, Fitch noted the Buckeye State economy has “continued to become more diversified,” and that the main limiting factor to Ohio’s steady economic growth would be slow population gains.

Ohio can’t allow King Bureaucracy to grow out of control while spending for the sake of spending, and it can’t pretend all its eggs are in one basket when we look at the industries that keep our economy humming. Perhaps we are beginning to learn that lesson.

Affirmation that Ohio is getting something right should go a long way toward supporting the idea that we must continue being responsible with taxpayer dollars while working to expand the state’s economic horizons.

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