New Jersey’s total bonded debt inched up to $33.87 billion at the end of fiscal 2009, up from the $31.86 billion outstanding in fiscal 2008, according to an annual debt report released last week.
At the same time, Fitch Ratings and Moody’s Investors Service both affirmed their ratings on the Garden State. Fitch rates the credit AA-minus with a stable outlook, while Moody’s assigns a Aa3 with a negative outlook. Standard & Poor’s plans to release its rating this week on $209.1 million of general obligation debt the state plans to price competitively on Tuesday.
The fiscal 2009 total amount includes $2.52 billion of GO debt, down from $2.8 billion of GOs in the prior fiscal year, and $29.04 billion of state appropriation debt, up from $27.39 billion of such debt in fiscal 2008. Moral obligation debt increased in fiscal 2009 to $2.3 billion compared to $1.66 billion the year before.
Other long-term obligations, including retirement costs and other post-employment benefit liabilities, boosted New Jersey’s total long-term liabilities to $51.24 billion as of June 30. That figure was $44.5 billion at the end of fiscal 2008.
Debt-management goals for fiscal 2010, which began July 1, include managing outstanding debt and related instruments to limit debt service costs and market volatility, the report said. State Treasury Department officials will continue to provide information to boost interest in New Jersey bonds and notes and also maintain its credit ratings.
The release of the debt report comes as the state prepares to price more than $700 million of debt this week, including $150 million of variable-rate New Jersey Transportation Trust Fund Authority bonds, $209 million of GO debt, $325 million of tax and revenue anticipation notes, and $27.1 million of taxable refunding bonds issued through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. The EDA refunding bonds are secured by lease payments the state allocates to the authority.
The state anticipates selling $200 million of GO debt annually from fiscal 2010 through fiscal 2012. Anticipated TTFA borrowing includes $1.4 billion this fiscal year and $1.59 billion next year. That program runs out of debt capacity for funding new projects beginning in fiscal 2012 as all dedicated funds will need to cover debt services costs at that time.
Estimated borrowing for school construction includes $1.1 billion in fiscal 2010 and $1 billion per year from fiscal 2011 through fiscal 2013, according to the report.
The state in fiscal 2009 paid $2.5 billion in combined principal and interest payments. That amount is expected to decrease to $2.44 billion in fiscal 2010 and then increase to $2.8 billion in fiscal 2011 and to $2.92 billion in fiscal 2012, respectively, when taking into account projected debt service costs from anticipated general obligation, TTFA, and school construction bond sales.