Oklahoma credit rating reaffirmed by S and P Global Ratings

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S&P Global Ratings has issued a revised outlook for the State of Oklahoma, elevating its status from stable to positive, and affirmed the state’s ‘AA’ long-term issuer credit rating, State Treasurer Todd Russ announced Tuesday.

The upgraded outlook from stable to positive applies to the appropriation-backed outstanding debt of the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority (ODFA) and the Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority (OCIA), including ODFA’s $3.88 million master real property lease revenue bonds from series 2023A. These particular bonds are issued by the Legislature on behalf of the Oklahoma State System for Higher Education, with sale proceeds being used to finance capital enhancement and construction at state colleges and universities.

According to S&P, “The outlook reflects our expectation that Oklahoma will continue its practice of tight expenditure management, and its accumulation of large reserve balances should provide the state with a substantial financial buffer to navigate potential near-term cyclical pressures.”

Treasurer Russ welcomed the news from S&P as an endorsement of the state’s fiscally conservative practices.

“The recognition of Oklahoma’s improved financial condition is well-earned and can be attributed to state leaders’ commitment to keeping debt levels low, decreasing pension system liabilities and providing reserves for the Rainy Day Fund,” said Russ. “A better credit status should translate into reduced costs for public infrastructure projects.”

The report from S&P comes on the heels of the credit rating agency’s invitation by the Treasurer to visit Oklahoma in the spring, where the Governor, state officials and business leaders showcased the state’s extensive presence in the aerospace and defense industries through tours at Will Rogers World Airport, Boeing and Tinker Air Force Base. In its justification for the state’s updated outlook, S&P pointed out that “Oklahoma has made significant efforts to diversify its economy, which, over the long-term, could bolster its employment and overall economic metrics during downturns.”

Carrying on with its positive outlook on the state, S&P suggested a future raise in Oklahoma’s credit rating “should the state continue to attract development that grows its economy, while also demonstrating a firm commitment to structurally balanced financial performance and sustaining reserves and liquidity.”