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Alaska's bond rating upgraded to AAA by Standard & Poor's

Becky Bohrer

JUNEAU -- Standard & Poor's has upgraded its bond rating for the state of Alaska to AAA, its highest, citing what it calls "exceptionally strong fiscal practices" incorporated into the budget process.

The rating is on Alaska's general obligation debt. The agency also assigned the rating to the state's $173.5 million in general obligation refunding bonds.

Gov. Sean Parnell said the upgrade confirms that the state takes steps needed to ensure its future with responsible resource development and budget discipline. Standard & Poor's said the ratings reflects such things as strong financial management, continued oil production decline and mineral potential, the state's moderate debt load and "relatively large" lingering unfunded pension liabilities.

On a 4-point scale, with 1.0 being strongest, the agency gave Alaska a composite 1.7.


By BECKY BOHRER
The Associated Press