TRENTON, NJ (AP) — New Jersey’s credit score improved for the first time in nearly two decades on Wednesday.
The upgrade means borrowing costs could become more affordable for the state. It’s also a longtime goal of Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy.
Moody’s Investor Service said the state’s rating was downgraded from A3 to A2, saying the decision “incorporates the state’s continued strong revenue and liquidity trends and its actions to more aggressively address aggressive to the charges of responsibility”.
As part of Murphy’s current fiscal year budget — a record $46.4 billion — he and lawmakers have increased public pension payments by 44% from the previous year’s contribution to 6 .9 billion dollars. It was the first time in a quarter of a century that the state had paid the full pension contribution. The rise to prominence began under Murphy’s predecessor, Republican Governor Chris Christie, who was in charge when state credit was repeatedly downgraded after the Great Recession.
The 11 downgrades under Christie covered all three different major credit rating agencies and occurred from 2011 to 2017. There were also two downgrades under Murphy’s watch, both in 2020 amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 19.
New Jersey’s credit was last improved in 2005, according to a tally kept by the governor’s office.
“Our efforts to rebuild New Jersey’s credit rating after decades of downgrades have yielded another positive result. It proves that facing our challenges head-on — rather than delaying and postponing — is the best way to get our house in order,” Murphy said in a statement.
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