Jackson, MS. Treasurer Lynn Fitch made the following statement about this week’s Standard and Poors report that downgraded Mississippi’s credit rating from a stable to a negative outlook.
“This downgrade should come as no surprise. In fact, we’re fortunate it wasn’t worse. Mississippi is making progress with our unemployment rate dropping and our positive economic growth, but we are still lagging behind most of the nation. And, with our population growth stagnant, it’s only common sense that investors would have concerns.
“That makes it all the more important that the Mississippi Legislature implement very prudent and very responsible fiscal policies when it comes to spending, taxing, and borrowing. Standard and Poors put Mississippi on notice with this report. We have a likelihood of one in three of downgrade in the next two years, so we have time to turn things around before more serious consequences for taxpayers.
“As Treasurer, I will do my part to encourage the Legislature to head down a more fiscally conservative path. And, as a Trustee of the PERS Board, I will do whatever I can to ensure that S&P never again says that we are lagging in or responsiveness to a declining funded ratio.”
The S&P report cited a number of factors in reaching this decision to reduce Mississippi’s credit rating, including:
- Weakness in revenue trends
- Weakness in several national indicators, such as economic growth, population growth, educational attainment, unemployment, and industry diversity
- An already stressed budget
- High debt burden
- Low and declining funded ratio for the Mississippi Public Employees Retirement System (PERS)
A copy of the full report is attached here.