Moody’s Investors Service affirmed its Aa2 ratings and stable outlook on Oklahoma’s $222.5 million of general obligation debt.
Total state tax-supported debt of $2.17 billion includes $1.3 billion of lease revenue bonds issued by Oklahoma Capitol Improvement Authority.
The report issued last week cited as positives the state’s conservative fiscal practices, healthy fund balances and below-average debt levels.
Analysts said the negative issues included large pension fund liabilities, a concentration in the volatile energy industry, and constitutional restrictions on raising state taxes.
Gov. Mary Fallin, Treasurer Ken Miller, Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger and state bond advisor Jim Joseph went to New York City Jan. 19 and 20 to seek a credit upgrade from Moody’s, Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s.
Oklahoma has issuer ratings of AA-plus from both Standard & Poor’s and Fitch.
Oklahoma’s unfunded pension problem fell by $5.5 billion due to actions by the 2011 Legislature, the report said.
The remaining $10.6 billion of unfunded pension liabilities include a $7.6 billion gap in the teachers retirement system.
The rating could go up if the unfunded liabilities are further resolved, the report said, but a slowdown in oil and gas exploration could present problems for the state’s economy.