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BALTIMORE CO. (MD) GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS RATED 'AAA' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 BALTIMORE CO. (MD) GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS RATED 'AAA' BY FITCH
 -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --
 NEW YORK, May 27 /PRNewswire/ -- Baltimore County, MD's $172.5 million General Obligation Bonds are rated 'AAA' by Fitch. The bonds are selling competitively on June 3. The credit trend is stable.
 Baltimore County's diversified economy, above average income and property tax base wealth provide an exceptionally strong basis to repay debt. While defense cutbacks and the current recession had a moderate impact on employment, the unemployment rate remains below area, state, and national levels. Residential real estate values have continue to increase as has the tax base. Overall long term growth prospects are strong. Debt levels have increased significantly in recent years but indicators should remain generally low to moderate as the county has been scaling back issuance of debt payable from the general fund in response to the revenue slowdown.
 Like most other Maryland counties, one-time measures were utilized to offset large midyear state aid cuts and general revenue softening. However, permanent measures were also taken, leading to a 1993 County Executive proposed budget, with which the County Council is in substantial agreement, that reduces overall spending from the current year. The budget achieves ongoing balance and is based on what appear to be conservative estimates of own source revenues. Measures include the elimination of 938 positions primarily through an early voluntary retirement program and, most significantly, an increase in the income tax rate from 50 percent to 55 percent of the state income tax liability. Furthermore, the council will request a doubling of funding of the Economic Stabilization Reserve Account proposed by the County Executive to $10.4 million, or just over 1 percent of the budget. The plan, and the measures contained within, demonstrates the county's willingness to take the necessary measures to assure its long-term financial health.
 -0- 5/27/92
 /CONTACT: Richard Raphael of Fitch, 212-908-0506/ CO: Baltimore County ST: Maryland IN: SU: RTG


PS -- NY078 -- 4424 05/27/92 16:48 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:May 27, 1992
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