After Credit Bump, Mass Gets Low Bond Interest Rate

By Sarah Birnbaum

Sept. 22, 2011

BOSTON — After securing what officials say is the highest credit rating in the state’s history, Massachusetts has sold $500 million in bonds at an interest rate of slightly below 3 percent.

Top state officials announced the sale at a state house press conference. Senate President Therese Murray said the lower interest rate will save the state tens of millions of dollars.

“To get a 2.9% rate is just amazing today, and that’s going to save us millions and millions and millions of dollars, and those are dollars that will go toward education, that will go toward life sciences, that will go toward creating jobs in the commonwealth,” Murray said.

The sale comes after Standard & Poors bumped up Massachusetts’ credit rating a notch to AA+.  S&P also recently downgraded the United State’s debt, citing gridlock in Washington.

At the press conference, Governor Deval Patrick, who's a Democrat and friend of President Obama, said the rating agency was impressed with the spirit of cooperation on Beacon Hill, which he contrasted with the bickering in Washington.

"You see what’s going on in Washington.  We’ve got a small but vocal and influential minority in the Congress who would apparently be willing to drive the economy off a cliff if they think it will derail this presidency.”

In Massachusetts, Democrats control both the House and Senate and all statewide offices.  Yet the Governor maintains that the new rating is not the result of one party dominance.
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