SAN FRANCISCO - Standard & Poor's yesterday upgraded the issuer credit rating on Wyoming to AA-plus from AA. The outlook is stable.
"We believe that Wyoming's revenue growth will continue due to high energy prices and that the state's non-energy-related economy will continue to improve and diversify," analyst Paul Jasin said in a statement.
The upgrade reflects the expectation that Wyoming will continue to maintain elevated reserve levels due to significant revenue growth and the buildup of its permanent funds over the past five years. These reserves provide a significant buffer against cyclical swings in revenue related to the energy sector, according to Standard & Poor's.
For fiscal 2007, the state's general fund balance increased to $794 million, or 40% of expenditures, and total available general fund reserves and legislative reserves at fiscal end 2007 equaled about 75% of their respective budgets.
Wyoming's financial performance has, in general, mirrored the mining industry's performance, the rating agency said. The state collects sizable royalties, coupled with property and severance taxes from the mining sector, with state officials estimating that mining industries generate nearly two-thirds of state and local revenues.
The state's economy is, however, slowly diversifying, Standard & Poor's said.