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MASSACHUSETTS $450 MILLION GENERAL OBLIGATION REFUNDING BONDS RATED 'A' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, Feb. 22 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts' $450 million general obligation refunding bonds, 1993 Series A, are rated "A" by Fitch. The "A" rating assigned to $7.9 billion outstanding GO bonds is affirmed. The bonds are expected to be sold Feb. 23 through negotiation with a syndicate led by The First Boston Corp. The credit trend is stable. This issue includes $277.37 million serials due Feb. 1, 1995- 2005, and $172.63 million terms due Feb. 1, 2008. Dates and prices for optional call have not yet been determined.
 Secured by a pledge of the commonwealth's full faith and credit, this issue will advance refund certain commonwealth bonds to achieve interest cost savings, the bulk of which will be taken in the current and the 1993-94 fiscal years. This refunding will not alter the structure, extend the term of debt, or affect the debt ratios which remain high. Net tax-supported debt totals $11.9 billion, equal to 8.7 percent of personal income and $1,979 per capita.
 Steady improvement in the commonwealth's financial condition has occurred, concluding two years of severe cutbacks and very conservative tax estimates. Last year's operations closed substantially stronger than anticipated, and better than expected current performance is resulting in upward revenue revisions and higher balances for the current year. Expenditures pressures may loom, as the governor's proposed 1993-94 budget cuts some $517 million from current funding to accommodate inflation and medical cost escalation. The commonwealth's ability to continue to control program expansion and spending pressures remains a test, especially with the recent signs of economic improvement. The reconciliation of responsibilities and costs with local governments continues to be an issue under address.
 Some abatement in the recession's severity is apparent. Unemployment levels have remained in the 8.4 percent-8.6 percent range since the March 1992 peak of 9.1 percent. Although employment losses have continued through 1992, levels have stabilized. Personal income gains through the third quarter of 1992 have been weak, with Massachusetts ranking 47th by this measure.
 -0- 2/22/93
 /CONTACT: Claire G. Cohen, 212-908-0552 or Ruth Corson Maynard, 212-908-0596, both of Fitch/


CO: ST: Massachusetts IN: SU: RTG

TS -- NY081 -- 9078 02/22/93 17:02 EST
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Date:Feb 22, 1993
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