CHICAGO — Ohio is coming to market Wednesday with $150 million of general obligation bonds as state lawmakers gear up to consider a pair of measures that could mean a flood of new-money borrowing over the next several years.
Wednesday's debt will be sold competitively. It features $150 million of infrastructure improvement general obligation bonds backed by the state's full faith and credit pledge.
The bonds mature from 2015 through 2034.
Proceeds will be used to raise money for loans and grants to local government for projects. The Ohio Public Facilities Commission is the issuer.
Bricker & Eckler LLP is bond counsel. Acacia Financial Group Inc. is financial advisor on the deal.
Rating analysts said the state has a history of strong financial management buoyed by recent revenue growth and moderate debt levels, including pensions and other post-employment liability obligations.
Standard & Poor's and Fitch Ratings both assign their AA-plus rating to Ohio GO bonds Moody's Investors Service rates them Aa1.
The state also plans to sell $50 million of lease-appropriation bonds in a negotiated sale set for Jan. 22. Proceeds from the debt will be used to finance improvements at various state-owned mental health facilities.
The deals come as legislators who are returning to work will consider a pair of measures that would mean a big boost in new-money issuance for the state.
Lawmakers are expected to put on the 2014 ballot a measure that would extend the state's current capital improvement program for another 10 years. The program was launched in 1987 and voters have renewed it twice.
If approved, the state would borrow up to $175 million a year for the first five years and $200 million a year for the remaining five years.
Gov. John Kasich, meanwhile, is set to unveil a new capital budget in the next three weeks.
The state generally crafts capital budgets every two years. This year's proposal is expected to be the most robust since Kasich took office in 2010. That year, the Republican governor announced there would be no spending for the 2011-2012 capital biennium in order to save money. The 2012 capital budget totaled $1.78 billion, significantly smaller than in previous years, and included no money for local projects.
For the first time since 2008, the new capital budget is expected to include local community projects, according to a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Budget and Management.
"Thanks to Ohio's improving economic health and fiscal stability, the next state capital improvements budget has room to address state and local needs in ways that will enhance our economy and the quality of life in our state," Kasich said in a statement. "With timely passage of [the capital budget] bill, funds could begin flowing for these local projects by mid-summer."
The state in March plans to sell $350 million of water quality bonds and $300 million of higher-education GO bonds.
Ohio has roughly $8 billion of outstanding GOs and $2 billion of appropriation-backed bonds.