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Standard & Poor's raises Pittsburgh's credit rating three steps

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By Staff and Wire Report
Thursday, June 27, 2013, 8:09 p.m.

Standard & Poor's, citing Pittsburgh's restored structural balance in operations and rising reserve funds, has raised the city's general credit rating three steps to A.

The new grade is S&P's sixth-highest level and matches the city's score from Fitch Ratings. Moody's Investors Service ranks the city A1, one step higher.

“The city has demonstrated a proven ability to maintain an enhanced credit profile featuring improved financial management and planning, consistently favorable budget performance, and strong reserves and liquidity,” Andrew Teras, an S&P credit analyst in Boston, said in a statement on Thursday to Bloomberg News.

Marissa Doyle, a spokeswoman for Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, could not be reached for comment.

Teras cited the involvement of the Intergovernmental Cooperation Agency, a state oversight board formed in 2004, and the city's coordinator under Pennsylvania's Act 47 program, which aids financially distressed municipalities. He said Pittsburgh has favorable long-term prospects because of a deep and diverse economy.

The city has balanced its budgets for the past six years, reduced debt to about $450 million and raised its credit rating from junk-bond status, though it still has a $1 billion employee pension liability.

The Act 47 recovery team has recommended that the state Department of Community Development grant the city financial independence. The ICA would retain state authority to approve city budgets.

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