Fitch Ratings assigned a AA-minus to prospective bank bonds corresponding to Cook County, Ill.’s taxable general obligation variable-rate bonds, Series 2002A. In addition, Fitch affirmed the county’s rating of AA-minus on $2.9 billion of outstanding GO debt. The outlook is stable.

The county’s long-term rating of AA-minus continues to reflect a deep and diverse economic base, but one that has experienced rising unemployment and a troubled housing market, Fitch said. It still adequate but reduced financial flexibility, as sufficient general fund reserves are offset by growing subsidization of health care and the high sales-tax environment amid a weaker economic climate; and a moderate debt burden, analysts wrote.

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