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Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Today, Governor Kevin Stitt and Treasurer Todd Russ celebrated Oklahoma's strong financial standing after Fitch Ratings released their revised Rating Outlook, moving Oklahoma’s rating from 'Stable' to 'Positive.' Fitch Ratings becomes the third rating agency to improve Oklahoma's outlook within the last year, following Moody's and S&P.
**"I'm proud of Oklahoma's conservative fiscal policies, and I commend Treasurer Russ for his commitment to keeping Oklahoma on sure footing,” **said Gov. Stitt. “We know that Oklahoma is the best place to build a business and raise a family, and having a solid economic track record shows the world that we are in a strong position to face any financial challenge.”
Fitch's updated rating highlights several positive financial trends for the state to adjust spending when necessary, such as quick action to address revenue shortfalls and budgets at ninety-five percent of projected operating revenues, a long pattern of supplemental pension contributions and restoration of service levels. Fitch applauded Oklahoma’s strong fiscal reserves and our broad economy. They also affirmed the following ratings of the state:
"We appreciate acknowledgment from the well-known bond rating agency, Fitch Ratings, noting the state’s sustained improvements in expenditure flexibility and overall fiscal management,” said Treasurer Russ. “With particular emphasis on conservative budgeting practices through economic cycles of revenue volatility, I’m proud to join the Governor, Speaker and Pro Tempore to advocate for Oklahoma taxpayers."
In a statement, Fitch Ratings said, in part: "Fitch's revision of the Outlook on Oklahoma's 'AA' long-term IDR to Positive from Stable reflects the state's sustained improvements in expenditure flexibility and overall fiscal management, particularly its adherence to conservative budgeting practices through economic cycles including the recent period of revenue volatility caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The state has consistently taken timely action to address revenue shortfalls and budgets only 95% of projected operating revenues. A long pattern of supplemental pension contributions and restoration of service levels enhances the state's ability to adjust spending when necessary."
The full report from Fitch Ratings can be found here.
OKLAHOMA CITV-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
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."
The U.S. Department of Transportation today announced that its Build America Bureau has provided a $45 million low-interest loan to the Oklahoma Capital Improvement Authority (OCIA), on behalf of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation (ODOT) to improve rural road safety. By providing Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loans and other financing, the Bureau helps communities expedite infrastructure projects and reduce project costs.
Governor Kevin Stitt, Chairman
Lt. Governor Matt Pinnell, Vice Chairman
Treasurer Todd Russ, Secretary
John Suter, Member
Executive Director of OMES
Charles Prater, Member
Commissioner, Oklahoma Tax Commission- Secretary Member
Tim Gatz, Member
Executive Director of ODOT
Dr. Deborah Shropshire , Member
Director of OKDHS
Shelley Zumwalt, Member
Executive Director of Tourism and Recreation