CHICAGO — Ohio will take competitive bids Wednesday on $300 million of general obligation bonds to finance capital projects for schools across the state.
The finance team circulated a supplement to preliminary bond documents warning investors to consider possible negative impacts tied to recent legislation affecting tax-exempt issuance. The supplement cited President Obama’s proposal, as part of his American Jobs Act, to cap the amount of interest that can be excluded from taxation as well as similar legislation that could be considered by Congress or even the Ohio Legislature.
“There can be no assurance that legislation enacted or proposed, or actions by a court, after the date of issuance of the Series 2011B bonds will not have an adverse effect on the tax status or interest or other income on the Series 2011B bonds or [their] market value,” the supplement said.
The Ohio Public Facilities Commission will issue the debt. Bricker & Eckler LLP is bond counsel and Acacia Financial Group Inc. is financial advisor. The bonds feature a final maturity of 2031.
Standard & Poor’s and Fitch Ratings affirmed their AA-plus ratings and stable outlooks last week. S&P revised its outlook on the state to stable from negative in July, citing its strong financial management and modest economic recovery.
Moody’s Investors Service rates Ohio Aa1 and maintains a negative outlook. Analysts warn the state’s recovery will likely lag the nation and that it could be difficult to achieve structural balance by fiscal 2013, as the current budget projects.
Moody’s said the state has a history of strong management, which has mitigated the impact of a weak economy, but noted that it has relied for years on one-time revenue measures to help balance budgets.
The current 2012-2013 budget assumes several one-shots to achieve structural balance. The largest is a $1.2 billion proposal to enter into a long-term lease of the state’s lucrative liquor distribution system. Others include privatizing five prisons and pushing off near-term debt service.
The possibilities of another national recession and federal budget cuts also threaten Ohio’s recovery, analysts said.