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MASSACHUSETTS $200 MILLION GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS RATED 'A+' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Jan. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts' $200 million General Obligation Bonds, Consolidated Loan of 1994 Series A, for competitive sale Jan. 19, are rated "A+" by Fitch. The $8.1 billion outstanding "A+" general obligation bonds are affirmed, and the credit trend is stable. Dated Jan. 1, 1994, the bonds will be due Jan. 1, 1995-2014, and will be optionally callable beginning Jan. 1, 2004 at 102%. The $124.2 million bonds maturing 2005-2014 may be designated by bidders as term maturities, with mandatory sinking fund redemption.
 The commonwealth's financial and cash positions continue to strengthen, and the economy appears to be stabilizing and finally past the recession's bottom. Reserves were rebuilt to 3.1% of 1992- 93 revenues, up slightly from preliminary estimates, and tax collections are showing steady growth in excess of estimates and at levels belied by economic indicators. For the first time since the severe recession, employment levels in October showed a slight over-the-year increase due to strong construction gains, but manufacturing continues to decline. Debt ratios are high at 8.6% of personal income, and will likely remain so, compounded by high debt service costs and a slowing retirement schedule.
 The governor's proposal for a new convention center/assembly "megaplex" is under legislative debate. While there are some proposed revenue sources as a partial offset, the near $1 billion of debt, or about 8% of existing tax-supported debt, would be supported by commonwealth contract assistance payments and included in the capital plan, replacing other purposes. Along with the continuing high debt level and burden, principal long-term concerns involve the commonwealth's ability to control spending, and permanent reconciliation of functional responsibilities and costs with localities and citizenry.
 -0- 1/14/94
 /CONTACT: Ruth Corson Maynard of Fitch, 212-908-0596/


CO: ST: Massachusetts IN: FIN SU: RTG

LG -- NY044 -- 1230 01/14/94 13:31 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 14, 1994
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