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King County Executive
Dow Constantine


Bond agencies: King County is well-managed, poised for economic rebound

Summary

Three major bond rating agencies recently reaffirmed King County’s AAA bond rating – the highest possible – which allows King County to finance construction, open space acquisition, and other projects at the lowest possible costs, saving taxpayer dollars. The agencies noted King County’s continued strong fiscal management under Executive Constantine’s leadership, along with the region’s overall economic vitality.

Story

Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings, and Moody’s Investors Service released their bond ratings of King County this month, highlighting investor confidence in the region.

All three agencies rated King County “AAA,” the highest possible rating for general obligation bonds. King County is the only county in Washington to receive this rating from all three agencies.

The agencies cited King County’s financial management and ability to quickly rebound after the pandemic.

Moody’s:

“Although the coronavirus pandemic has had a significantly negative economic impact on the region, the county maintains strong underlying fundamentals, including a highly educated population and solid infrastructure, that we expect will endure beyond the current outbreak. We expect the county’s tax base to remain strong and that the county’s financial management team will ensure the county’s financial profile remains healthy.”

Fitch:

“The county is using a combination of spending cuts, revenue raising and use of reserves to mitigate sharp revenue losses due to the pandemic-induced recession. Given the strong reserve levels going into the current economic downturn and other tools available, Fitch expects the county to retain its superior gap-closing capacity.”

Standard & Poor’s Global Ratings:

“We see King County as coming into the recent recession and what we think will be a prolonged weak recovery with considerable credit strengths, including a dynamic and diverse economic base that includes Seattle; effective, performance-oriented management; and robust fiscal performance.”

The ratings will help King County secure favorable terms in two upcoming bonds sales on Oct. 27, which are set to raise approximately $53 million for open space acquisitions, technology projects, and some Metro capital projects; and an additional $74 million to retire certain bonds early, reducing future debt costs.  

“King County’s strong bond ratings are a testament to our financial stewardship and commitment to be the best run regional government in the nation,” said Executive Constantine. “There are real dollars-and-cents benefits to making responsible government one of my top priorities – providing more resources for environmental protection, transit, and family-wage jobs. There is no doubt that we face a faltering national economy, but as these bond agencies predict, King County will get through these tough times and continue to expand prosperity and opportunity for all residents.” 

On Oct. 19, King County debuted its first-ever Investor Relations website: www.kingcountybonds.com.

The website includes information for retail and institutional investors interested in purchasing bonds issued by King County.


Quotes

King County’s strong bond ratings are a testament to our financial stewardship and commitment to be the best run regional government in the nation. There are real dollars-and-cents benefits to making responsible government one of my top priorities – providing more resources for environmental protection, transit, and family-wage jobs. There is no doubt that we face a faltering national economy, but as these bond agencies predict, King County will get through these tough times and continue to expand prosperity and opportunity for all residents.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

For more information, contact:

Alex Fryer, Executive Office, 206-477-7966


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography