State is Prepared to Sell Liquor Revenue Bond

August 22, 2013

For Immediate Release: August 22
Contact: Peter Steele, Communications Director, (207) 287-5086

AUGUSTA – Standard and Poor’s (S&P) and Moody’s Investors Service, leading providers of global credit benchmarks, have assigned credit ratings on the State of Maine’s proposed liquor operation revenue bond. S&P has assigned its ‘A+’ rating with a stable outlook. Moody’s assigned their ‘A1’ rating with a stable outlook.

The revenue bond, part of Governor LePage’s plan for a new wholesale liquor contract, will be used to repay $183.5 million in welfare debt that the state owes to Maine hospitals. This payment will trigger a federal match of $305 million, fully repaying the hospitals for the welfare debt that was accrued due to the Medicaid expansion approved by the previous administration.

“As a result of these new bond ratings, our administration is one step closer to repaying Maine’s hospitals the $484 million in welfare debt that is owed to them,” said Governor Paul R. LePage. “Maine hospitals provide good jobs and are vital to the local economy. Repaying our hospitals is the right thing to do, and I am proud to deliver on my promise to finally pay off this burdensome debt.”

In May, both Moody’s and S&P cited the state’s Medicaid program, known as MaineCare, and the outstanding hospital debt as hindering the State’s bond rating.

The Maine Municipal Bond Bank expects to sell the liquor operation revenue bond next week.