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Washington's Credit Outlook Moves From 'Negative' To 'Stable'

Wall Street is casting a favorable eye on Washington now that the state has a new budget and the housing and job markets are showing signs of life. Two credit rating agencies Monday upgraded Washington’s credit outlook from “negative” to “stable.”

State Treasurer Jim McIntire says that change eases earlier concerns that Washington’s double-A plus bond rating is imperiled. "The outlook is really kind of an indication that if they were going to make any changes to the negative, that kind of threat to a downgrade has now been removed.”

McIntire is getting ready to conduct an $860 million general bond sale. He hopes the improved credit outlook means more investors show up for that sale.

The credit agencies do have longer term concerns about Washington’s fiscal stability. They note the state owes billions of dollars to schools because of a Supreme Court decision. Another area of concern is Washington’s reliance on a volatile, consumer driven state sales tax.

Since January 2004, Austin Jenkins has been the Olympia-based political reporter for the Northwest News Network. In that position, Austin covers Northwest politics and public policy, as well as the Washington State Legislature. You can also see Austin on television as host of TVW's (the C–SPAN of Washington State) Emmy-nominated public affairs program "Inside Olympia."