SAN FRANCISCO — Standard & Poor's changed California's outlook to stable from negative Thursday, saying the state's cash flow appears unobstructed by its newly adopted budget.
The agency said in a statement that the negative outlook had been linked to the chance of a reoccurring cash deficiency that has likely been mitigated by the state's recently enacted budget.
Standard & Poor's affirmed the long-term and underlying A-minus on the state's general obligation bonds, as well as the A-minus and BBB-plus on its Proposition 1A and appropriation-backed debt.
Analyst Gabriel Petek said the enacted budget improves California's fiscal structure and should reduce the risk to its liquidity.
"Most of the solutions employed to achieve budget balance are largely realistic and should clear a path for the state to issue its revenue anticipation notes," Petek said in the statement.
Concerns had surfaced that a budget delay would leave the state unable to sell the Rans to pay for operations, forcing difficult and potentially expensive cash-control measures. Officials now plan to sell around $5 billion of notes this summer, according to the treasurer's office.
Petek said the budget also represents a missed opportunity because it does not address the backlog of budget obligations accumulated over the past decade through one-time fixes.
California GOs have ratings of A1 from Moody's Investors Service and A-minus from Fitch Ratings.