Tag Archives: lowest

Fitch Ratings: TN Has Lowest State Debt in the Nation

News release from Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey:
(July 22, 2013, NASHVILLE) – Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey (R-Blountville) and Senate Finance Chairman Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) today announced that Fitch Ratings officially declared Tennessee the lowest indebted state in the union. Fitch Ratings issued the finding in a special report on state pensions last week. The ranking is based on Tennessee’s net tax-supported debt and unfunded pension obligations as a percentage of personal income.
“This news proves once again that Tennessee can outperform any state in the union — even in the Obama economy,” said Lt. Governor Ramsey. ¬†“While the federal government and other states are taxing, spending and leaving their grandchildren the bill, Tennessee continues to balance budgets and pay what we owe. I’m proud of our legislature, our Governor and our constitutional officers for their commitment to a lean and efficient state government that provides necessary services at minimal cost to taxpayers. It is that commitment that continues to attract businesses and families to our great state.”
Senate Finance Chairman Randy McNally concurred in celebrating the news.
“I’m grateful to Fitch Ratings for recognizing Tennessee’s commitment to fiscal discipline,” said Sen. McNally. “We work hard as a state government to live within our means and pay our debts promptly. I look forward every day to participating in Tennessee’s economic success story.”
Fitch Ratings State Pension Update special report published July 16, 2013 revealed that the median level for states’ combined net tax-supported debt plus unfunded pension liabilities measures 7.0 percent of 2012 personal income. Tennessee’s was lowest at 1.8 percent. The nation’s highest percentage was Illinois at 24.8 percent.
Fitch Ratings is a leading global rating agency which provides the world’s credit markets with independent credit opinions. ¬†Fitch, together with Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s, are the three nationally recognized statistical rating organizations designated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

State Sells Bonds at 2.05% — Lowest Rate Ever

News release from state comptroller’s office:
The State of Tennessee sold more than $170 million worth of general obligation bonds this week at the lowest overall interest rates in more than 40 years. The debt offering was sold in two parts, consisting of $140,000,000 in tax-exempt bonds and $30,525,000 of federally taxable bonds. The combined true interest cost of the bonds was 2.05 percent.
The tax-exempt bond proceeds will be used to fund new capital projects while the proceeds from the taxable issue will be used to refinance currently outstanding bonds.
The refinanced bonds will result in present value savings to the state of $2,607,000 over an eight-year period.
“We chose to refinance some of our bonds at this time because interest rates were so low,” said Comptroller Justin P. Wilson, who serves as secretary of the State Funding Board. “The low interest rates we were able to get demonstrate, once again, that the state is in excellent financial health.”
“Over the last 15 months, we have saved the state more than $63.6 million through refinancing, said State Treasurer David H. Lillard Jr., who is also a State Funding Board member. “We believe that’s part of our mission to be good stewards of public money.”
“Tennessee has continued to maintain strong credit ratings, which makes low interest rates possible,” said Secretary of State Tre Hargett. “We are able to maintain those credit ratings because of the excellent work done by the General Assembly, the governor and his administrative staff in managing our state’s finances.”

TN Had Second Lowest Voter Turnout in Nation Last Year

Tennessee had the second-lowest voter turnout rate in the nation in last November’s congressional election, according to a U.S. Census Bureau survey released Wednesday and reported by The Tennessean.
Just 37.7 percent of Tennessee citizens over 18 voted. Only Texas, with 36.4 percent, had a lower rate.
Last year’s state rate is also the lowest in a congressional election since 1998. More than 45 percent of Tennesseans voted in 2006 and 2002.
The figures are estimates taken from the Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey.
Bruce Oppenheimer, a political scientist at Vanderbilt University, says the state’s low 2010 turnout can be explained by a lack of high-profile, closely contested races.
“We had a very noncompetitive gubernatorial race, and we didn’t have a U.S. Senate race last year, so we were largely depending on the middle of the ticket to drive interest for the top of the ticket, and that doesn’t happen very often,” he said.
Oppenheimer said races were competitive in just two congressional districts — the 4th District represented by Rep. Scott DesJarlais and the 8th District represented by Rep. Stephen Fincher.
Census Bureau surveys dating back to 1990 show Tennessee has consistently ranked lower than most states in congressional election turnout. It has numbered among the bottom 15 in all but the 2002 election.