State Earns High Marks for its Financial Management

While many governments across the nation are in fiscal crisis, Florida’s financial house is in order, earning it an “AAA” bond rating this week from Standard and Poor’s.

The annual review from one of the top the internationally-recognized financial research companies gave the state high marks for its financial management, pointing out that Florida’s economy maintains a strong and competitive position in the Southeast.

Gov. Charlie Crist on Wednesday said the rating “confirms that we have been managing prudently and responsibly by taking timely and appropriate action to balance the state budget.”

Florida legislators last spring cut about $3 billion in state spending as a result of the poor economy and the state’s failing real estate market. The Legislative Budget Commission this summer tapped a state reserve fund to overcome additional shortfalls in tax revenue collections. The state constitution prohibits deficit spending.

Earlier this week Crist announced a $541 million federal Community Development Block Grant that will let the state’s hardest hit communities purchase foreclosed homes at a discount, allowing them to rehabilitate or redevelop them.

Congress has also given the state $571 million in tax-exempt bond capacity that will help make lower interest first-mortgage loans available to first-time home buyers with low and moderate incomes.

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