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OKLAHOMA $100 MILLION GO BONDS RATED 'AA' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, July 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Oklahoma's $100 million General Obligation Building Bonds of 1992, Series B, expected by negotiation during the week of July 26 through a syndicate led by Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., are rated 'AA' by Fitch. The 'AA' rating also applies to $340.7 million outstanding general obligation bonds. The credit trend is stable.
 The new bonds, the final installment of $350 million approved by the voters in November 1992, mature July 15, 1994-2013 and are callable beginning July 15, 2003 at 101 percent. While the state's full faith and credit are pledged to the bonds, additional security is provided by a pledge of the yield of 18 cents of the state's 23 cents per package cigarette tax; outstanding building bonds in the amount of $9.7 million share in 7 cents of the pledged 18 cents.
 Oklahoma's extremely conservative approach to both debt and financial policies underpins the credit assessment. State general obligation borrowing has been very limited and is expected to remain so and lease and contractual obligations, although represented by a variety of issuers, are not large in dollar amount. Net tax-supported debt amounts to only 0.9 percent of personal income, a very low ratio.
 Oklahoma has put in place several mechanisms to ensure the integrity of constitutionally mandated budget balance. These include restricting appropriations to 95 percent of estimated revenues and the maintenance of both a Rainy Day reserve and a cash reserve. In addition, the use of volatile energy taxes for the general fund has been limited. These protections offset potential vulnerability, in case of an emergency, of the state's very strict tax limit, which requires a super majority vote in each legislative house to increase revenues. While general fund revenues will fall about 3 percent below original expectations for 1992- 93, the shortage is within the 5 percent leeway provided by the limit. The cash flow reserve is increased somewhat to $307 million and $45 million will remain in the rainy day fund after 1993-94 appropriations.
 Oklahoma's economy has been undergoing transformation since the collapse of energy prices in the mid-1980s. The importance of the mining sector, on which the state was heavily dependent, has decreased by nearly one-third since 1982. Diversification, with emphasis on services, trade, and government, has taken place and these sectors have grown to offset the mining loss, but employment is still slightly under the 1982 peak. While growth has been subdued, there is considerable economic potential.
 -0- 7/14/93
 /CONTACT: Claire G. Cohen of Fitch, 212-908-0552/


CO: ST: Oklahoma IN: SU: RTG

TM -- NY088 -- 1607 07/14/93 16:46 EDT
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Date:Jul 14, 1993
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