The Walker administration announced Wednesday the Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) upgraded Wisconsin’s long-term rating to AA+ from AA.
KBRA said the higher rating reflects, “that in recent years Wisconsin has consistently and accurately budgeted within its means and has prioritized a combination of tax, spending, and debt restraints that have improved the State’s reserves and liquidity.”
“We are focused on being good stewards of taxpayer dollars, and this upgrade is yet another confirmation that our reforms are working for Wisconsin,” Governor Scott Walker said in a release. “We proved you can budget responsibly and make strong investments in priorities like education and infrastructure, while holding the line on taxes. We are working and winning for Wisconsin.”
KBRA praised Wisconsin for reducing the state’s “historically high tax burdens.”
“Meanwhile, the economy as measured by employment and income indicators, continues to grow at a healthy pace,” KBRA said. “These factors combined with the State’s large and fully funded pension system (which increasingly makes Wisconsin a positive relative outlier on the landscape of states and other large municipalities) have improved the State’s operational and financial flexibility.”
The 2017-19 state budget that passed in September was also praised by KBRA.
“In this budget the State has chosen to make sizable but affordable increased investments in transportation, education, and other policy priorities while also prioritizing financial reserves and holding the line on taxes,” the ratings agency said.
In August, Moody’s Investor Service upgraded Wisconsin’s general obligation rating to Aa1, up from Aa2. According to the Walker Administration, that was the first increase in the state’s bond rating from that agency since 1973.