Cook County Bond Rating Outlook Upgraded by Major Agencies

Cook County Bond Rating Outlook Upgraded by Major Agencies

Coming on the heels of positive ratings news for Cook County from Moody’s Investor Service, Fitch Ratings released a report upgrading the County’s bond rating outlook to stable. All three ratings agencies have now revised the County’s outlook positively in the last week.

A “stable outlook” generally signals the rating agency’s opinion that the rating will not be downgraded for a 24-month period.

“We welcome Moody’s, Fitch and Standard and Poor’s upgrading the County’s bond rating outlook to stable and their recognition of our work creating financial stability and confronting our legacy liabilities,” Preckwinkle said. “This is an important acknowledgment by these three agencies of Cook County’s willingness to tackle its fiscal challenges and not kick the can down the road.”

Fitch specifically noted that the outlook revision to stable was based on “the progress the County has made in fundamentally realigning revenues and expenditures, improving its capacity to weather a moderate economic downturn, as well as its plan to dramatically improve pension funding in a way that does not present a risk to operations.”

Both S&P and Moody’s also recognized the County’s efforts to confront the growing burden related to its unfunded pension liabilities as a stabilizing credit factor.

The three agencies highlighted strong management and good financial policies by the County as credit strengths with Moody’s also noting the County’s “significant progress” in addressing unfunded pension liabilities.

“We will continue confronting our challenges head-on while responsibly stabilizing our long-term financial position and paying down liabilities so that we do not pass on these problems to future generations. Our work is far from done, but we appreciate that the rating agencies have recognized the progress we have made to date,” Preckwinkle added.
(Cook County Government)

Photo: Andrew Gombert/EPA

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