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Bond underwriters praise Georgia, rate bonds 'AAA'
Hill Jack
Sen. Jack Hill

As the State of Georgia prepared to bring a proposed list of projects to the bond market for sale, the three bond underwriting firms, Moody’s, Standard & Poors and Fitch all rated the bonds “AAA” and in their analyses reaffirmed the state’s successful, conservative and consistent management of resources and government.

Standard and Poors noted that Georgia’s economic growth out-paces the nation, credited Georgia’s history of budget adjustments in slow-down periods, the stat e’s rebuilding of reserves, moderate debt position and full funding of pension liabilities. They gave the state top scores in Outlook, Governmental Framework, Financial Management, Economy, Budgetary Performance and Debt and other Liabilities.

Moody’s cited the state’s “continuously positive financial results since the recession, alongside low debt and fixed costs” as strengths along with “strong management and governance practices.’ Their Rating Outlook stated that Georgia has built up such a reserve ($2.8 billion) that its credit quality would not be affected even if there were a recession.

Fitch Underwriters said the AAA rating recognized the state’s “conservative debt management...fiscal balance and a broad-based and expanding economy with job growth outpacing national trends.” They noted that since the recession, Georgia has “limited spending growth and ...rebuilt the RSR balance.” They also stated that Georgia’s “long-term liability burden is low.” Fitch listed key “AAA” Rating drivers as Revenue Framework, Expenditure Framework, Long-Term Liability Burden and Operating Performance and rated Georgia at the top levels of evaluation.

Highlights of bond package sale

The proposed list of projects for the June 19 Bond Sale include:

➤ $199.5 million — K-12 Education

➤ $246.6 million — Board of Regents

➤ $121.9 million — Technical College System

➤ $13.1 million — Public Libraries

➤ $35 million — State-owned rail systems improvements

➤ $150 million — Replacement of voting machines

➤ $43.9 million — Dept. of Corrections

➤ $22.08 million — Dept. of Natural Resources

 May revenues basically flat

After the huge month in revenue growth in April, May’s totals came in essentially flat, gaining 0.1% on total revenues of $1.759 billion.

Individual Income Taxes came in slightly positive at 0.4%. Corporate Income Taxes were up 6.7%.

Individual Income Tax Refunds were down $14.1 million while Income Tax Returns were up $31.2 million. Individual Withholding payments decreased by $45.9 million for the month.

Sales taxes stay positive

Net Sales taxes for June were up 2.8% on revenues of $508.3 million. Title Ad Valorem Taxes were positive at 4.01% and Tag, Title and Fees were negative -$7. 6 million. Tobacco and alcoholic beverages taxes were positive at 3.1% and 6.5% respectively.

Motor fuel taxes/fees up

Motor Fuel Taxes and Fees, including Impact Fees and Hotel/Motel fees, were up slightly at 1.1% or $2.0 million.  

Year-to-date number s still good

With only one month still remaining in the FY 2019 Fiscal Year, revenues remain pretty strong, showing an increase of 4.5% and totaling $21.6 billion. That’s a gain of $940.7 million and shows the state exceeding FY 2019 budget projections by about $84 million.

Individual income taxes/sales taxes positive

Individual Income Taxes for the year are still up 4.1%, corporate taxes up 27.2% and Net Sales Taxes are positive at 5.4%.

Both Title Ad Valorem Taxes and Tag, Title and Fees categories are negative at -4.8% and -1.7% respectively. Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco taxes are both positive at 1.2% and 0.2% respectively.

Motor fuel taxes up 2.1%

Motor Fuel Taxes and fees are up $38.5 million YTD on revenues of $1.852 billion.

Comparison of Southeastern states’ revenue growth


West Virginia              11.8%

Virginia                       7.9%

Arkansas                    6.7%

Alabama                     6.6%

Kentucky                    5.7%

Georgia                      4.5%

Louisiana                    4.2%

Texas                          4.0%