City's A+ Credit Rating Remains Strong Despite Federal Debt Downgrade

The city’s A+ credit rating remains strong in light of Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt over the weekend

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Released: 08-11-2011

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 11, 2011—St. Louis Comptroller Darlene Green today took steps to reassure city of St. Louis taxpayers and bondholders that the city’s A+ credit rating remains strong in light of Standard & Poor’s downgrade of U.S. sovereign debt over the weekend.

“The city continues to take proactive steps to make certain its conservative fiscal policy and balanced budget remain the cornerstone for our long-term financial stability,” said Comptroller Green. “The law states the city must have a balanced budget every year. This forces us to live within our means and make the tough fiscal decisions that ensure our debt service is paid in full each and every year.”

In 2008, during the height of the nation’s financial crisis when many other cities had their debt downgraded, S&P raised the city of St. Louis’ long-term credit rating to A+ with a stable outlook. This represented the highest credit rating for the city in 35 years. The 2008 credit rating upgrade is the seventh since Comptroller Green took office in 1995.

“The Comptroller’s Office takes great pride in our credit rating and works diligently to preserve it. Our high rating has saved taxpayers millions in interest charges over the last three years and will continue to save us money moving forward,” said Comptroller Green.

In addition, Moody’s Investors Service on Wednesday affirmed the city’s Aa3 rating and stable outlook citing a strong tax base, rejuvenated downtown and a relatively conservative debt profile as our financial strengths.

A city’s credit rating is similar to a person’s credit score. A high rating, like the city of St. Louis’, makes issuing bonds and borrowing money less expensive. It also helps attract public and private investment because it assures potential investors the city can pay its bills and continue providing vital city services at a high level.

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