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Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the State of Ohio's Aa1 Issuer Rating and revised the state's outlook to positive from stable.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine, Lt. Governor Jon Husted, and Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kimberly Murnieks announced today that Fitch Ratings upgraded Ohio’s long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to “AAA” from “AA+”.
Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kimberly Murnieks announced the Ohio Public Facilities Commission closed on the refinancing of $185 million of outstanding general obligation debt, achieved $38 million in cash flow savings, and reduced interest costs to 1.22 percent from 4 percent.
The “refunding” bonds for debt originally issued in 2012 benefited from a historically low interest rate environment, sizable investor demand, and Ohio’ strong (AA+/Aa1/AA+) General Obligation credit ratings, which gained momentum earlier this summer when Fitch Ratings elevated the State’s rating outlook from “Stable” to “Positive.”
On a cumulative basis for the calendar year, OBM’s debt savings initiatives will save the General Revenue Fund (GRF) $260 million in cash flow in future fiscal years.
“I’m proud that our efforts have saved Ohio tax dollars this year and into the future. We achieved these results due to the State’s strong economic recovery, our ability to pay off some debt early, and our high-quality credit rating. Ohio is well-managed with strong leadership and conservative fiscal practices and investors notice – our fall transaction was five times oversubscribed”, said OBM Director Kimberly Murnieks.
Pricing alongside the refunding bonds, the OPFC sold $181.2 million of “new money” Infrastructure and Conservation bonds at an all-in interest rate of 2.02 percent.
The infrastructure sale supports grants and loans to local governments for investment in roads, bridges, and water and sewer systems. Proceeds from the sale of Conservation bonds, are utilized for green space preservation, recreational trails at Ohio’s state parks, and to protect and preserve farmland.
Citigroup served as senior managing underwriter along with KeyBanc Capital Markets as designated co-senior manager. PFM Financial Advisors LLC. provided financial advisory services.
Governor DeWine serves as chairperson of the OPFC while the OBM director serves as secretary. Additional members include representatives from the Treasurer of State, Auditor of State, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kimberly Murnieks announced today that Fitch Ratings, citing the state’s superior financial resilience, affirmed the state’s Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at “AA+” and elevated the state’s outlook to Positive from Stable. The “AA+” rated (Positive) outlook indicates the state’s low default risk and is one notch below Fitch’s highest credit quality rating of “AAA.”
“Fitch’s decision to upgrade Ohio’s bond rating outlook to Positive is proof that the state of Ohio’s financial management is solid and our economy is surging forward. We took the hard and necessary steps to do what is right for Ohioans, and for our communities. And we are seeing results. Ohio is the first, and so far the only, ‘AA+’ rated state to have its outlook elevated to Positive by one of the three major ratings agencies since the pandemic began,” said Ohio Governor Mike DeWine. “Ohio is the best state to grow your career, to expand your business or to start a new one, and to raise a family.”
“An improved bond rating outlook is a message that Ohio is managed well, it is a great place to invest and has a bright future,” said Ohio Lt. Governor Jon Husted. “It’s just another piece of evidence that Ohio and the Ohio economy are strong as we emerge from the pandemic and prepare for the future.”
“This rating outlook change is strong third-party validation of Ohio’s robust financial position and of Governor Mike DeWine’s proactive management of the state’s finances and economy throughout the turbulent global conditions caused by the pandemic. The decisive actions taken by Governor DeWine starting in February of 2020 to protect Ohioans and control state government spending, prioritizing saving lives to save our economy, worked,” said OBM Director Murnieks.
The Fitch report states, “Outlook revision to Positive from Stable reflects Ohio’s sustained trend of balanced finances and growth in reserves that strengthens the state's financial resilience as it confronts cyclical economic and revenue trends.” The report further cites Ohio’s “superior financial resilience that allowed it to absorb the immediate budgetary effects of the economic downturn.”
The rating action is Fitch’s first change in 11 years when Ohio’s IDR was upgraded from “AA” to “AA+” in 2010. This action represents the highest rating level for Ohio’s IDR by any of the three main rating agencies since 1979.
In connection with the IDR update, Fitch also rated an upcoming issuance of $56.5 million State of Ohio (Treasurer of State) Series 2021A Capital Facilities Lease-Appropriation Bonds (Cultural and Sports Facilities Building Fund Projects) as “AA” Positive outlook and affirmed the ratings and revised outlooks to Positive on Ohio’s “AA+” General Obligation bond rating, “AA” on outstanding appropriation-backed bonds, the “AA” Ohio School District Credit Enhancement Program Rating, and the “A+” PPP Grantor Counterparty rating assigned to the Ohio Department of Transportation's Portsmouth Bypass project payment obligations.
The Fitch report citing Ohio’s superior financial resilience is available here.
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Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kimberly Murnieks announced that the Ohio Public Facilities Commission (OPFC) in partnership with OBM’s Capital Markets Team completed the sale of $597 million of Common Schools and Higher Education bonds.
The sale supports capital projects at K-12 schools, colleges and universities around Ohio. The transaction included a $148 million refinancing of debt issued in 2011 and 2013 and will produce $46 million of cash flow savings between fiscal years 2021 and 2033.
The sale priced with an all-in-interest rate of 2.02% and the State achieved attractive pricing as a result of its strong credit ratings (AA+/Aa1/AA+), sizable investor demand generating 5 times more orders than supply, and a low rate environment.
Bank of America Securities served as senior managing underwriter with Loop Capital Markets serving as co-senior manager. Acacia Financial Group, Inc provided Financial Advisory services.
“This spring deal accelerates our year of recovery, which allows for additional support to Ohio’s communities and economy. On behalf of Governor Mike DeWine, OPFC, and OBM, we have achieved measurable results in the marketplace,” said OBM Director Kimberly Murnieks.
Governor DeWine serves as Chairperson of the OPFC while the OBM Director serves as Secretary. Additional members include representatives from the Treasurer of State, Auditor of State, Secretary of State, and Attorney General.
Ohio Achieves $363.6 Million in Cash Flow Savings for Fiscal Year 2021
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kimberly Murnieks announced today that the Ohio Public Facilities Commission (OPFC) closed the sale of State of Ohio General Obligation debt in a remarkable transaction that achieved hundreds of millions of savings and was led by a minority-owned firm.
Loop Capital Markets served as senior managing underwriter on the Ohio Public Facilities Commission $780 million refunding transaction. Acacia Financial Group, a certified Women’s Business Enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise Council, served as Financial Advisor. Morgan Stanley & Co served as co-senior underwriter. Additional syndicate members included BofA Securities, Citigroup, Huntington Securities, Inc., J.P. Morgan, and KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc.
This historic collaboration of public and private sector partners produced $363.6 million in cash flow savings for fiscal year 2021 at an extremely advantageous interest rate of 1.54%, which is among the lowest rate of OPFC debt issued to date. The sale was also the largest conducted with a minority-owned underwriting firm and with a women’s business enterprise.
“This global COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact our communities and economy. However, on behalf of Governor Mike DeWine, OPFC, and OBM, we have secured a notable success in the marketplace. We are particularly proud to report that a minorityowned business enterprise led part of this achievement,” said OBM Director Kimberly Murnieks.
Governor DeWine serves as Chairperson of the OPFC while the OBM Director serves as secretary. Additional members include representatives from the Treasurer of State, Auditor of State, Secretary of State, and Attorney General’s Office.
Buckeye Tobacco Settlement Financing Authority Completes $5.3 Billion Refinancing
Favorable Market Conditions attract 150 investors and over $50 billion in orders
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – The Buckeye Tobacco Settlement Financing Authority (the Authority) closed on a $5.3 billion refinancing of the Tobacco Settlement Asset-Backed Bonds on Wednesday, March 4. The transaction went to market on February 25, 2020, taking advantage of incredibly favorable municipal bond market conditions.
The 2020 deal refinanced bonds originally issued in 2007 that securitized the State of Ohio’s annual payments received under the 1998 Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement with tobacco companies. The tobacco settlement bonds are special revenue obligations and are not at Ohio taxpayer or General Revenue Fund expense.
Earlier this year, the Authority approved the refinancing to decrease interest costs, create an opportunity for the State to receive future tobacco settlement payments, and prevent the 2007 bonds from a 2024 potential revenue shortfall. The transaction prompted more than 150 investors to submit over $50 billion in orders for the bonds. The bonds are structured to withstand significant future declines in tobacco consumption and to generate back-end savings for the State. Annual payments are projected to return to the State in 2052. The State did not contribute funds or provide credit support for the newly issued bonds; therefore, no risk was transferred to taxpayers.
The Buckeye Tobacco Settlement Authority is comprised of the Governor, the Director of the Office of Budget and Management (OBM), and the Treasurer of State. The Director of the Office of Budget and Management serves as the Secretary for the Authority.
“The Authority delivered on its objectives, lowering debt service costs and creating a more resilient structure. As a result, future tobacco settlement payments now have an opportunity to benefit Ohioans.” said OBM Director and BTSFA Secretary Kim Murnieks.
Jefferies and Citibank served as Joint-Lead Managers on the transaction.
The General Assembly created the Authority in 2007 for the sole purpose of exchanging Ohio’s annual revenue stream of tobacco settlement proceeds for a one-time upfront payment that financed the cost of improving facilities of Ohio’s K-12 schools and universities statewide. In turn, those annual payments are pledged to repay bond holders, and once repaid, the annual proceeds from the settlement will return to the State of Ohio.
News reporters and interested parties are encouraged to visit www.obm.ohio.gov for more information.
OBM Announces Actions to Control Personnel Costs
This includes cost savings days and additional measures
The following statement can be attributed to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) Director Kimberly A. Murnieks:
The State is facing a significant budget shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting impacts to Ohio’s economy. On May 5, 2020, Governor Mike DeWine announced actions to balance the fiscal year 2020 state budget. Fiscal year 2021 is projected to remain significantly below original budgeted estimates. OBM has updated fiscal year 2021 revenue projections and the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to negatively impact tax revenue such that available revenue receipts and balances in the GRF will be approximately $2.5 billion less than budgeted. Details regarding the updated fiscal year 2021 revenue projections will be included in the OBM Monthly Financial Report to be released on June 10.
Given the current economic situation resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, it is necessary that Ohio state government implement immediate additional measures to reduce expenditures by state agencies, boards, and commissions, as planned personnel expenditures for fiscal year 2021 are unsustainable. Therefore, in accordance with Executive Order 2020-19D, Department of Administrative Services (DAS) Director Matthew Damschroder and I will be ordering certain cost savings measures for fiscal year 2021.
Pay and Step Freeze: We are requesting that the General Assembly adopt an amendment to institute a pay freeze and a freeze on step advancement for exempt employees for fiscal year 2021.
Mandatory Cost Savings Days: We are instituting a mandatory cost savings days program for fiscal year 2021 for exempt employees. This will be accomplished by reducing exempt employees’ bi-weekly wages for each pay period throughout the year in an amount equivalent to 80 hours (10 days) of unpaid leave, for an approximate 3.8% pay reduction.
Cabinet Directors: Cabinet director salaries will be reduced by 4 percent.
Unions: We have asked the organizations representing the State’s collective bargaining employees to come to the table by June 15 to discuss ways to reduce bargaining unit personnel costs.
Additional Measures: The State will continue to operate under the hiring freeze already in effect, again with exceptions for those staff providing direct response to the COVID-19 situation. All existing budgetary control restrictions will continue. OBM and DAS will continue to partner to identify personnel and cost containment strategies to balance the state budget and preserve our ability to provide services to Ohioans.
Refinancing of Veterans Bonds Generates Savings for Ohio Taxpayers
Ohio Office of Budget and Management and Ohio Public Facilities Commission announce $2.0 million in savings
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – The Office of Budget and Management announced today that it has completed a $25 million refunding of outstanding debt related to the Veterans Compensation Bonds issued in 2010 and 2011. The refunding, prompted by current favorable levels of interest rates, saves Ohio taxpayers $2 million and lowers the cost of borrowing to 1.83% from 4.59%.
“Similar to how thousands of Ohioans take advantage of lower interest rates to refinance their homes, the state of Ohio refunds bonds to lower its payments. The Office of Budget and Management is always looking for ways to reduce the state’s future debt service obligations for taxpayers.” Director Kim Murnieks_._
The Bonds, formally issued by the Ohio Public Facilities Commission, were authorized by voters in 2009 to make payments to eligible military veterans or to their surviving immediate family. In the past, such payments have been made to those who served in Operation Desert Storm and Iraq, and eligibility continues for those who serve in Afghanistan.
The Department of Veterans Services oversees the program. Interested individuals are encouraged to visit www.veteransbonus.ohio.gov for more information.
For additional information about State of Ohio debt management, please view the Bonds and Investors page.
Visit the Office of Budget and Management news and events page and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
(COLUMBUS, Ohio) – Lt. Governor Jon Husted and Treasurer Robert Sprague today announced a new joint initiative to ensure OhioCheckbook.com remains a valued resource for taxpayers for years to come. Under the proposal, day-to-day management of OhioCheckbook.com will be administered in collaboration between the Ohio Treasurer’s office and the Office of Budget and Management (OBM) with the support of the Office of Information Technology (OIT).
“One of the quickest pathways to success is to find ways to collaborate and work with others so you can win together, and today’s partnership between our administration and Treasurer Sprague is a real win for Ohio taxpayers,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “Not only will this partnership provide better services at a lower cost, it will strengthen our commitment to transparency with both the media and the public.”
Since its launch in 2014, management of OhioCheckbook.com has resided solely within the Treasurer’s office. By expanding the oversight and management of the online transparency tool, this new partnership will create new efficiencies and cost savings through its utilization of the State of Ohio’s data management systems.
“The Ohio Checkbook empowers taxpayers and local governments by putting transparency at their fingertips,” said Treasurer Sprague. “The Treasurer’s office is committed to growing OhioCheckbook.com into the future and ensuring it’s as cutting-edge as ever before. By partnering with InnovateOhio and the Office of Budget and Management, we’re making sure OhioCheckbook.com remains an accessible and valued resource for years to come.”
The state expenditure data provided by OhioCheckbook.com are also provided by the Ohio Office of Budget and Management (OBM) through their Interactive Budget website. The Interactive Budget also includes detailed state revenue data in real time. OhioCheckbook.com has the added ability to present expenditure data from participating local governments.
By combining efforts and resources, administration officials and the Treasurer’s office anticipate annual cost savings of approximately $900,000 per year, once fully implemented. Additionally, state spending data featured on OhioCheckbook.com will be merged and aligned with the existing Ohio Interactive Budget website offered by OBM. The OBM website allows for real-time reporting of state expenditures, and the merging of these two systems will eliminate duplication and bolster overall efficiencies.
“The OBM Interactive Budget architecture is directly linked to the state accounting system using our suite of analytics tools,” said OBM Director Kim Murnieks. “It allows for real-time reporting of state revenues and expenditures, and I am thrilled that the merging of these two systems will preserve the best features of each site, while saving staff time and taxpayer dollars.”
Today’s announcement also drew support from State Rep. Dave Greenspan (R – Westlake), who earlier this year introduced House Bill 46, a measure that aims to codify OhioCheckbook.com to ensure its utilization by future officeholders.
“Making government more accessible and transparent for Ohioans has been a long-standing goal of mine, first as a county councilman and now as a state legislator,” said Rep. Greenspan. “I am excited to see this agreement reached after many years of hard work and thoughtful discussion.”
Upon its launch, OhioCheckbook.com became the first resource aiming to make all state spending information available online. Five years later, the website continues to garner the interest of those hoping to learn more about how Ohio’s tax dollars are spent. Today there are more than 1,150 local government entities on OhioCheckbook.com, with more than 50 new entities coming onboard since January of this year.
The new Ohio Checkbook will be maintained on the InnovateOhio Platform.
House Bill 46 is currently pending before the Ohio Senate.
Ohio issued $300 million dollars in bonds to finance school construction receiving a 20-year financing rate of 2.35% - its lowest ever.