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WASHINGTON $4.4 MILLION GENERAL OBLIGATION BONDS RATED 'AA' BY FITCH -- FITCH FINANCIAL WIRE --

 NEW YORK, June 15 /PRNewswire/ -- Washington's $4.4 million Motor Vehicle Fuel Tax General Obligation Bonds (Ferry and Hood Canal Bridge), Series R-93 D are rated 'AA' by Fitch. The $4.8 billion outstanding 'AA' general obligations are affirmed. The new bonds, together with funds on hand, will refund $12.8 million outstanding bonds. The bonds, expected through negotiation with Lehman Brothers on June 17, will mature Sept. 1, 1994-2001 and are not callable.
 Washington's high credit position and expectations derive from consistent application of sound debt policy, improved financial practices, and gradual economic diversification. The recession here has been mild, with continued growth in employment and personal income, but scheduled Boeing layoffs will dampen growth. The credit trend is stable, although some financial dislocation could result from proo?ns of an initiative measure, for which signatures are now being sought. The measure, Initiative 602, effective in 30 days if passed, would limit revenues and repeal tax increases enacted this year. Another measure, Initiative 601, also is circulating for signatures; this would limit spending and require voter approval for new taxes but would not become effective until the next biennium.
 The state's general fund is expected to close on June 30 with a balance of $132 million, with an additional $100 million held in a reserve. A balanced budget for 1993-95 has been adopted, with provision for an ending balance of $153 million and a reserve of $125 million. A tax package of some $650 million, primarily broadening of the sales and business and occupation taxes, was passed this year.
 Economic growth is still evident, but at slower rates. Employment in March was about 1 percent above a year earlier, but the unemployment rate was at 8.2 percent. Personal income has continued to increase at rates higher than for the country; preliminary 1992 data indicate that per capita personal income was equal to 103 percent of the U.S. figure, advancing the state to a rank of 13 from 14 among the 50 states. The scheduled Boeing layoffs, 15,000 in 1993 and 4,000 in 1994, will have a negative impact on the economy, but the diminished aerospace role and strength in other sectors are still expected to prevent slumps as severe as those experienced in 1981-83 or 1969-71.
 -0- 6/15/93
 /CONTACT: Claire G. Cohen, 212-908-0552, of Fitch/


CO: ST: Washington IN: SU: RTG

LR -- NY063 -- 2158 06/15/93 13:11 EDT
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Date:Jun 15, 1993
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