Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s are global companies that analyze and issue reports of credit worthiness of states in particular. They have now affirmed their strong credit ratings and their stable outlooks on the State of Maine’s general obligation debt.
Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.
In its affirmation of our credit rating, Standard & Poor’s praised our “prudent expenditure management” and “measured approach to budget management with an emphasis on proactive structural solutions.” Moody’s stated that our “financial position has improved markedly over the last year” and that the Rainy Day Fund has grown significantly. Standard & Poor’s described our projected Rainy Day Fund levels as “very strong.”
Well to put it plainly, we’ve done a pretty good job managing Maine’s budget. In fact, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s have reaffirmed our credit ratings every year since I took office, including during the pandemic at a time when at least 22 other states’ ratings and outlooks were downgraded.
By reaffirming our credit ratings, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s are saying they are confident in our leadership, in our fiscal standing, in our financial strength.
Thanks to our good fiscal management, not only is the state budget balanced as it must be — we have also doubled our Rainy Day Fund to half a billion dollars and we’ve achieved a record surplus. So this summer, as you know, we sent half of that record surplus back to you, the taxpayers of Maine, in the form of $850 relief checks to help you grapple with higher costs, one of the strongest relief measures in the nation.
And we have dedicated more than $205.9 million to the Department of Transportation — an unprecedented General Fund investment to improve Maine’s transportation infrastructure – preventing, for the first time in years, the need to bond for transportation funding. We’re not borrowing. We’re paying General Fund dollars to fix the potholes and pave the roads.
Well while we are still grappling with higher costs that are driven by the pandemic and driven by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, Maine’s economy as a whole has made one of the strongest recoveries in the nation.
Since 2019, Maine’s Gross Domestic Product has grown at the 11th fastest rate in the nation. Since the pandemic, our unemployment rate has now dropped to 3.2 percent which is below the national average and below the New England average.
These economic signs, and Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s strong affirmation of our credit worthiness, are more indications that our state has made a strong recovery from the pandemic.
We’ve got a lot more to do, addressing workforce issues and prices, and while we continue to do everything we can to bring down the higher costs for Maine people as much as we can, this week’s report by Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s is a positive sign that Maine State Government made the right choices early on to protect our economy and that we’re making the right choices now.
This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.