BRADENTON, Fla. — Standard & Poor's yesterday raised West Virginia's general obligation rating to AA from AA-minus.

The upgrade is based on the state's continued strong financial performance and continued commitment to address its long-term liabilities through this most recent period of economic weakness, said a report by Standard & Poor's analyst John Sugden-Castillo. The outlook is stable.

The state had approximately $706 million of outstanding GO debt at the end of fiscal 2008.

"In our opinion, West Virginia's AA GO rating reflects the state's economic base, which although not expected to generate significant near-term growth, has provided relative stability during periods of economic downturn," Sugden-Castillo said in a statement.

Offsetting rating factors include the state's long-term liabilities associated with the significantly underfunded Teachers' Retirement Pension System, which are being addressed, and a growing liability associated with other post-employment benefits, said the analyst.

West Virginia's GOs are rated AA-minus by Fitch Ratings and Aa3 by Moody's Investors Service.

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