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Moody's Investors Service has assigned Aa2 ratings to the State of Maine's $35.8 million General Obligation Bonds, 2019 Series A (Federally Taxable) and $125.3 million General Obligation Bonds, 2019 Series B. The outlook is stable.
RATINGS RATIONALE The Aa2 rating reflects a stable economy that will be challenged by weak demographic trends, an improving financial position, and an elevated combined debt and pension burden that is mitigated by rapid amortization of debt and pension liabilities.
RATING OUTLOOK Maine's stable outlook is based on an improving financial position resulting from healthy revenue performance and adherence to governance best practices.
On Nov. 6, Maine voters will decide four questions asking to borrow a total of $200 million.
The borrowing would pay to mitigate wastewater pollution in coastal watersheds, for upgrades to the state’s aging transportation infrastructure, and for facility and programming improvements at public higher education campuses.
In July, the Legislature settled on four borrowing questions for the November ballot after more than a year of vetting dozens of other bond proposals. Republican Gov. Paul LePage, who has often quarreled with lawmakers about bonds and who continues to withhold some voter-approved borrowing measures, indicated that he could tolerate $300 million in new borrowing. But lawmakers stalled for months before they agreed to a compromise borrowing package.
Mainers have given the green light to four bond initiatives totaling $200 million.
The proposals approved Tuesday mitigate wastewater pollution, upgrade transportation infrastructure and fund improvements at colleges and universities.
One of them directs $30 million over the next decade to municipalities with subpar septic systems that are leaking untreated stormwater and sewage into the ocean and nearby lakes and rivers. Some of the money also would go to homeowners for similar improvements.