State of Delaware Retains Triple-A Bond Rating

Governor Announces Top Grade Received 24th Straight Year

May 1, 2024

WILMINGTON, Del. – Governor John Carney has announced that the State of Delaware has once again received the highest possible AAA/Aaa ratings from the nation’s top rating services.

The State of Delaware received competitive bids on Tuesday for its upcoming sale of $359 million of General Obligation Bonds. The State’s bonds carry the highest possible ratings assigned by the nation’s major rating services – Fitch, Moody’s, KBRA and S&P Global Ratings – contributing to excellent results for the State and Delaware’s taxpayers.

“Delawareans deserve a state government that responsibly manages taxpayer dollars,” said Governor John Carney. “I was proud to work with then-Governor Tom Carper in the 1990s when Delaware first achieved a triple-A rating from the major bond rating agencies. Over the last quarter century – through good times and bad – our General Assembly and Governors worked hard to sustain our commitment to economic growth and responsible financial stewardship. I’m confident this will remain a top priority for Delaware’s leaders.”

Ratings are assigned based on criteria that include the State’s financial performance and management, overall debt load, and approach to long-term issues ranging from financial obligations to economic development trends. The highest ratings, Aaa/AAA, are granted to states that are best managed and prepared to meet debt obligations during periods of recession or fiscal stress. The higher a state’s credit rating, the lower its cost to repay bonds.

“Bond buyers continue to show a strong appetite for investing in Delaware. Despite a significantly higher interest rate environment today than just a couple years ago, today’s bids were very competitive,” said Secretary of Finance Rick Geisenberger. “The State’s total interest costs on its new bonds is 3.51%. That’s an increase of about 40 basis points versus last year’s bonds, consistent with Federal Reserve Policy moves over the last year. State taxpayers also realized $6.1 million in savings by refinancing $77 million of existing debt.”

All three rating reports related to the upcoming sale noted the importance of the State’s responsible budget practices and debt management practices. Fitch stressed the “proactive management and institutionalized protections designed to ensure surplus operations.” S&P’s report commented, “the State limits tax-supported debt…and adheres to clearly defined affordability parameters and rapid amortization.” Moody’s focused their comments on “strong limits on appropriations … while allocating surplus funds to non-recurring projects.” All agencies continue to regard the ratings as “stable” underpinned by the state’s strong reserves and continued economic growth.

“Delaware’s financial condition has never been stronger,” said Treasurer Colleen Davis. “The Delaware Treasury in collaboration with the Cash Management Policy Board continues to monitor strong liquidity and reserves. This lowers the State’s borrowing costs and increases interest income available for critical investments in schools, public safety, and our quality of life.”

Proceeds of the sale will fund a portion of the State’s capital program as well as refund previous bonds to realize debt service savings. Closing on the sale and receipt of bond proceeds is scheduled for May 15, 2024.

Rating reports can be found at the Delaware Department of Finance’s website.

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