S&P upgrades Philly's bond rating

Mayor Nutter with Rob Dubow, city finance director, behind him. (Jessica Griffin / Staff Photographer)

Standard & Poor's Ratings Services last week upgraded Philadelphia's bond rating one level, from BBB+ to A-, the city's highest rating since 1979.

Here's a press release from Mayor Nutter's administration:



City receives its highest rating in more than 30 years

 Philadelphia, June 17, 2013– Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services has raised the City of Philadelphia’s long-term and underlying rating on the City’s general obligation (GO) debt to A- with a stable outlook from BBB+. This is the first time since 1979 that the City has been rated A- by S&P.

“This is a great achievement for our City, and it is because of the leadership and focus of Rob Dubow, Finance Director, Nancy Winkler, City Treasurer and Rebecca Rhynhart, Budget Director and their staffs,” said Mayor Michael A. Nutter. “This rating upgrade is a true testament and validation of our Administration's commitment to fiscal integrity and the crucial management of our City's finances. The City and our citizens will benefit from this upgrade and we should all be proud of this designation.”

In the S&P release, issued Friday, the rating agency noted, “The upgrade reflects Standard & Poor’s assessment of the city’s progress in restoring its general fund balance through cost containment as well as stronger revenue streams.”

Finance Director Rob Dubow said, “We are excited for the upgrade. It's a validation that we took the needed steps to manage through the great recession. At the same time, it's clear that there's more we need to do as we're still among the lowest rating large cities.”

S&P credit analyst Hilary Sutton noted in the release that “economic diversification, despite the recession, into more growth-oriented sectors, such as health care, higher education, and services” will “position the City for growth as recovery ensues.”