DALLAS — Colorado will issue $625 million of special revenue bonds to replenish its unemployment compensation fund next week.
The issue is the first for the new security and will include a tax-exempt Series A of $93.3 million maturing in two years and taxable Series B of $531.5 million reaching final maturity in 2017.
The bonds will be issued through the Colorado Housing and Finance Authority.
Goldman, Sachs & Co. shares lead underwriter duties on the negotiated deal with JPMorgan and RBC Capital Markets. The syndicate includes five other firms.
First Southwest Co. is financial advisor. Kutak Rock is bond counsel.
The bonds carry ratings of Aa2 from Moody’s Investors Service with a stable outlook. A rating from Fitch Ratings is pending. Standard & Poor’s will not rate the issue.
“The rating reflects a large and diverse tax base for the premiums, assessments and surcharges, ample coverage levels even under extremely severe stress scenarios, and generally strong security provisions,” Moody’s managing director Kenneth Kurtz wrote in this week’s ratings report.
Proceeds of the bonds will be used to repay an outstanding advance from the federal government to the state’s unemployment compensation fund and recapitalize the fund, largely eliminating the need for future advances.
Interest payments on the bonds are paid separately by private employers and transferred to the trustee when received by the state. There is no debt service reserve.
Colorado joins other states that issued debt to cover unemployment costs and reimburse the federal government for extended jobless benefits.
The state is also adjusting to a clerical error by asking unemployment beneficiaries to pay back $128 million in overpayments. State officials said that 96% of the payouts are because of a clerical mistake, while 4% were due to deliberate fraud. In interviews with Colorado media, several recipients of the overpayments said they are still unemployed or cannot pay the state back.
Colorado in April recorded its smallest monthly gain in payroll jobs since last December, as the state unemployment rate rose to 7.9% from 7.8% the previous three months. The national unemployment rate was 8.1% in April.
The state’s economic output growth slowed last year but was still faster than the national average, according to a report Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
Colorado output in 2011 expanded by 1.9% from 2010 to $234.3 million, down from 2.4% growth in 2010, and ranked 14th among states, the agency said.
U.S. economic output in 2011 grew by 1.5% from the previous year, less than half of the 3.1% growth rate in 2010.
Colorado’s economic growth per person, after adjustments for inflation, last year grew just 0.5% from 2010 but was still the first gain since 2008 and the strongest since 2006.
Colorado’s economic growth per person in 2011 was 8.9% higher than the national average at $45,792.