KBRA Assigns AA+, Positive Outlook to the State of Wisconsin General Obligation Refunding Bonds of 2021 Series 3 (Taxable)

February 16, 2021 7:11 PM EST

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NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) assigns a long-term rating of AA+ with a Positive Outlook to the State of Wisconsin General Obligation Refunding Bonds of 2021 Series 3 (Taxable).

Concurrently, KBRA affirms the long-term rating of AA+ with a Positive Outlook on the State of Wisconsin’s (the State’s) outstanding General Obligation (GO) Bonds and long-term rating of AA with a Positive Outlook on the State’s outstanding Master Lease Certificates of Participation (COPs). Lastly, KBRA affirms the short-term rating of K1+ on the State’s GO Commercial Paper (CP) Program and GO Expendable Municipal Commercial Paper (EMCP) Program.

The Positive Outlook reflects the State’s continued fiscal discipline and the resulting improvement in its financial reserves. The Outlook also reflects KBRA’s expectation the State will return to its positive economic trajectory after recovering from the disruptions caused by the pandemic, demonstrating greater resilience and recovery than much of the nation.

A report will follow shortly.

Key Credit Considerations

KBRA continues to monitor the direct and indirect impacts of the COVID-19 virus. Click here to access KBRA’s ongoing research on the topic.

The rating actions reflect the following key credit considerations:

Credit Positives

  • Strength and breadth of the State’s general obligation pledge.
  • Trend of conservative budgets, strong financial results, and improving reserves.
  • Strong liquidity position, based on all sources of available cash for State operations.

Credit Challenges

  • Economic uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Modest, though now positive, General Fund balance ($1.5 million), on a GAAP-basis.

Rating Sensitivities

For Upgrade

  • Prudent accumulation of reserves during periods of economic prosperity demonstrates strong fiscal control and affords the State financial flexibility, bolstering its ability to weather a recessionary downturn.
  • Continued growth in the economic base yielding improvement in the State’s ability to generate revenue for operations and the payment of debt service.

For Downgrade

  • Material financial weakening with chronic budgetary imbalance over an extended period.

ESG Considerations

When relevant to credit, ESG factors are incorporated into the credit analysis in the same manner as all other credit-relevant factors. Among the ESG factors that have impact on this rating analysis are:

  • Discussion in RD 1: Management Structure, Budgeting Practices and Policies, considers several Governance Factors. The state’s management structure, transparency, policies and practices contribute to strong governance.
  • Discussion in RD 3: Service Area and Economy reflects Social Factors. KBRA has examined the following areas for this credit: trends in population, education, income, poverty levels, employment, unemployment, GSP and the economic impacts of COVID-19.

More information on ESG Considerations for the Public Finance sector can be found here

To access ratings and relevant documents, click here.

Disclosures

A description of all substantially material sources that were used to prepare the credit rating and information on the methodology(ies) (inclusive of any material models and sensitivity analyses of the relevant key rating assumptions, as applicable) used in determining the credit rating is available in the Information Disclosure Form(s) located here.

Information on the meaning of each rating category can be located here.

Further disclosures relating to this rating action are available in the Information Disclosure Form(s) referenced above. Additional information regarding KBRA policies, methodologies, rating scales and disclosures are available at www.kbra.com.

About KBRA

Kroll Bond Rating Agency, LLC (KBRA) is a full-service credit rating agency registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as an NRSRO. Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited is registered as a CRA with the European Securities and Markets Authority. Kroll Bond Rating Agency UK Limited is registered as a CRA with the UK Financial Conduct Authority pursuant to the Temporary Registration Regime. In addition, KBRA is designated as a designated rating organization by the Ontario Securities Commission for issuers of asset-backed securities to file a short form prospectus or shelf prospectus. KBRA is also recognized by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners as a Credit Rating Provider.

Analytical Contacts

Douglas J. Kilcommons, Managing Director (Lead Analyst)
+1 (646) 731-3341
douglas.kilcommons@kbra.com

Linda Vanderperre, Senior Director
+1 (646) 731-2482
lvanderperre@kbra.com

Jozelle Cox, Analyst
+1 (646) 731-1227
jcox@kbra.com

William Cox, Global Head of Corporate, Financial and Government Ratings
+1 (646) 731-2472
wcox@kbra.com

Karen Daly, Senior Managing Director (Rating Committee Chair)
+1 (646) 731-2347
kdaly@kbra.com

Business Development Contact

Bill Baneky, Managing Director
+1 (646) 731-2409
bbaneky@kbra.com

James Kissane, Senior Director
+1 (213) 806-0026
jkissane@kbra.com

Source: Kroll Bond Rating Agency



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