California Municipal Bond Ratings Cut to Lowest Amongst States

California's financial paralysis and its deteriorating fiscal condition is not something that is widely reported. Still, investors hold tens of biillions of its bonds and the state has the fifth largest economy in the world. We should all be paying attention.

California's financial paralysis and its deteriorating fiscal condition is not something that is widely reported.  Still, investors hold tens of biillions of its bonds and the state has the fifth largest economy in the world.  We should all be paying attention.

This week, S&P cut California's bond rating for its $46 billion in debt was lowered from A+ to A, the sixth highest of the 10 investment grades.  At this rating, California is the lowest rated state, below Louisiana, the next lowest.   Earlier this month, state controller John Chiang delayed $3.7 billion in payments on items such as corporate and personal income tax refunds.  

No one believes that California will default on its debt.  The state is enormously wealthy and its budget problems are political.  

“The state would need to default on all local aid, its entire medical and judicial systems, its highway program, etc. before not paying GO bondholders. We are not close to that scenario yet,” said Matt Fabian of Concord, Massachusetts-based research firm Municipal Market Advisors ."

It seems that California's problems may be investors gains.  The lower bond ratings will increase the yield on California debt, increasing payments for the state but providing more cash for investors.

Sol Nasisi
Sol Nasisi: Sol Nasisi is the co-founder and a past president of BestCashCow, an online resource for comprehensive bank rate information. In this capacity, he closely followed rate trends for all savings-related and loan products and the impact of rate fluctuations on the economy. He specifically focused on how rates impact consumers' ability to borrow and save. He also has authored a wee

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