Treasurer Robert Sprague: Credit upgrade is a big win for the Buckeye State

Published 12:00 am Thursday, September 22, 2022

Though we may not realize it when it stares us in the face, adversity often brings out the best in us. That’s certainly proven true right here in the Buckeye State.

The last few years have seen no shortage of fiscal storms. In fact, the combination of COVID-19, skyrocketing inflation, and ongoing supply chain issues has brought an economic hurricane to the shores of our nation.

But we’ve worked hard to keep the ship steady here in Ohio.

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Those efforts were on full display recently when Fitch Ratings – one of the “Big Three” credit rating agencies – upgraded Ohio’s long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to “AAA” – marking the first time Fitch has ever placed its top rating on the State of Ohio. In short, this credit upgrade is a big win for Ohio’s taxpayers and its financial future, as it will immediately lower the cost of borrowing for our state.

But this victory didn’t come overnight. It took several years of sound stewardship and fiscal planning to get us where we are today.

In fact, it was just over a decade ago that Ohio was facing some of its greatest economic adversity in the form of an $8 billion budget shortfall. Like virtually all states back in 2010, Ohio was reeling in the wake of the “Great Recession.” Unemployment was on the rise, budgets were under crippling strain, and our state’s coffers were in woeful disarray.

Ohioans demanded change, and that’s exactly what they got.

As a freshman member of the Ohio House of Representatives, I worked side-by-side with my colleagues and Administration officials to deliver a sound, transformative, and most importantly, balanced, state budget. Together, we helped to replenish our Budget Stabilization Fund while simultaneously lowering income taxes for hard-working families across the state.

In short, we restored fiscal discipline and adopted prudent budgeting principles that have placed Ohio on a path toward economic prosperity.

Today, as Ohio Treasurer, I remain committed to those same conservative practices that took shape more than a decade ago. In managing our state’s investments, debt portfolio, and cash flows, we are working day-in and day-out to bolster Ohio’s balance sheet and do our part to build a stronger foundation for the years ahead.

The recent credit upgrade is the result of years of Ohio government entities working effectively and in partnership with one another. From the Executive Branch to the General Assembly, smart, conservative budgeting and investment strategies have become the norm in the Buckeye State.

That hard work and renewed commitment to sound financial principles has revitalized Ohio and well-positioned it for the future.

While there’s no telling what economic challenges lie on the horizon, Ohioans can rest assured that our financial foundation is as strong as ever – and that’s a story worth telling.

Robert Sprague is a Republican, serving as treasurer for the State of Ohio. His office can be reached at 614-466-2160.