Credit agency Fitch Ratings is downgrading Pennsylvania's $10.9-billion in outstanding general obligation debt because it says policymakers haven't adequately addressed rising costs that are outpacing tax collections
The downgrade, dated Tuesday, comes three years after Fitch put Pennsylvania on a negative outlook. The downgrade takes Pennsylvania from AA plus to AA and puts it in the bottom one-third of states Fitch rates.
Fitch cites Pennsylvania's failure to boost funding for public employee pension obligations and its lack of a cash reserve. The ratings agency says that signals an inability or unwillingness on the part of political leaders to make difficult fiscal decisions.
Governor Tom Corbett's proposal to cut future pension benefits of current employees by $12-billion over 30 years collapsed in the Legislature. The current budget is draining the state's cash reserve and cutting business taxes.
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