Maryland State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp announced
today that in spite of continued fiscal headwinds caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the
three major bond rating agencies have reaffirmed the State's AAA bond rating, all with
stable outlooks, in advance of the upcoming competitive sale of up to $475.0 million of
General Obligation Bonds on Wednesday, February 24, 2021.
Maryland is one of thirteen states* to hold the coveted AAA rating, the highest possible
rating, from all three major bond rating agencies. S&P Global Ratings has rated the bonds
AAA since 1961, Moody’s Investors Service has assigned the bonds a rating of Aaa since
1973, and Fitch Ratings has rated the bonds AAA since 1993.
Treasurer Kopp said, “We are pleased that even with the many challenges Maryland faces
as a result of COVID-19, the rating agencies recognize that the State’s proactive response
to the pandemic, its steady commitment to prudent fiscal management, and the reserves it
has built up over the last decade have helped us to weather the crisis so far. Furthermore,
Maryland’s dynamic economy, highly educated workforce, and above average wealth and
income levels put us in a strong position as we move towards recovery.”
Moody’s Investors Service, in providing its rationale for its Aaa rating, noted that “the
budgetary flexibility afforded to Maryland by its Board of Public Works… has been on
display throughout the pandemic” by helping to free up hundreds of millions of dollars to
close gaps in fiscal years 2021 and 2022. Moody’s also notes that the State’s better-thanexpected performance has allowed it to simultaneously close budget gaps, maintain
significant reserves, and provide over $1 billion in funds to support Maryland residents and
Fitch Ratings, in assigning its AAA rating and stable outlook, said that Maryland is
addressing its revenue shortfalls and funding of relief priorities in a fashion it considers
“achievable and prudent.” It notes the extraordinary measures taken to manage the State’s
finances during the pandemic, including the Board of Public Works’ midyear reductions,
use of federal relief funds, and measures such as the hiring freeze and restrictions on
spending instituted in 2020.
In assigning its AAA long-term rating and stable outlook, S&P Global Ratings stated,
“Maryland’s fundamental economic strengths have allowed it to weather the initial
budgetary shock of the COVID-19-induced recession,” citing the State’s better than
anticipated revenue performance so far during the pandemic. However, S&P notes that “the
COVID-19 pandemic… if sustained, could weaken the State’s economy, liquidity, and
The bond sale will include $425.0 million of tax-exempt bonds and up to $50.0 million in
taxable bonds. The tax-exempt bonds will be sold in two bidding groups to enhance
competition: Bidding Group 1 - $207.5 million of tax-exempt bonds; and Bidding Group
2 - $217.5 million of tax-exempt bonds. All bonds are expected to be sold to institutions.
As is always the case with Maryland’s General Obligation Bonds, the State will use the
proceeds to finance important capital projects and improvements, such as public schools,
community colleges, university projects and hospitals.
The Maryland Board of Public Works, composed of Governor Lawrence J. Hogan, Jr.,
Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp, and Comptroller Peter Franchot, will preside over the
competitive bond sale at its meeting on Wednesday, February 24, 2021. The meeting will
be held virtually.
The Maryland State Treasurer’s Office expects to conduct another bond sale in July or