Pennsylvania sees 3rd rating downgrade in 2 years

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HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP)—Pennsylvania received its third bond downgrade in two years Monday, after Gov. Tom Corbett signed a budget that papers over a massive deficit with stopgaps and failed to win passage of legislation to rein in a rising public pension debt.

New York-based credit ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service dropped Pennsylvania’s $11.1 billion of general obligation bonds a rung on its rating ladder, from Aa2 to Aa3, leaving it ranked among the six worst states in Moody’s ratings for the 47 states with general obligation debt.

It was the second downgrade by Moody’s in two years. Fitch Ratings downgraded Pennsylvania last year, and Standard & Poor’s has warned it could downgrade Pennsylvania if it didn’t see significant strides to address deficits and pension liabilities.

Moody’s cited Pennsylvania’s growing structural deficit and weak reserves, as well as relatively slow economic growth that it said is unlikely to keep up with the state’s growing public pension liabilities.

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