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Los Angeles County Achieves Highest Credit Ratings, Signaling Strong Fiscal Health

los angeles credit rating highest yet
© Omar Prestwich

Los Angeles County has received the highest possible credit ratings from two major ratings agencies, reflecting its strong economic base and fiscal discipline. Fitch Ratings has upgraded the County’s long-term issuer credit rating to AAA from AA+, while S&P Global Ratings has maintained its AAA rating for the County. Moody’s continues to rate the County at Aa1. This achievement places Los Angeles County among an elite group, as only four other counties in California hold AAA ratings from Fitch and S&P.

The upgrade from Fitch came in conjunction with the County’s issuance of $700 million in Tax and Revenue Anticipation Notes for the fiscal year 2024-25, which were priced at an attractive 3.25%. All three credit agencies assigned the highest short-term ratings to the County’s Notes issuance, further underscoring its financial stability.

Higher credit ratings enable Los Angeles County to attract a broader base of bond buyers and secure lower interest rates, saving millions in interest payments for taxpayers. The upgrade is based on Fitch’s new U.S. Public Finance Local Government Rating Criteria, which praised the County for its economic strength, stable tax base, and robust budgetary management and governance practices.

“These AAA credit ratings from Fitch and S&P, along with the Aa1 from Moody’s, demonstrate that Los Angeles County’s fiscal health is strong,” said Lindsey P. Horvath, Chair of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors. “Our leadership is focused on prudent financial planning and economic resiliency while strengthening essential services for our communities.”

Supervisor Hilda L. Solis highlighted the significance of this achievement, especially in light of the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. “The County’s AAA rating is a testament to the Board of Supervisors’ commitment to a solid financial foundation, ensuring we deliver services fairly and responsibly, particularly to those most vulnerable,” Solis said.

Supervisor Holly J. Mitchell emphasized the practical benefits of the rating, stating, “Achieving the highest credit rating will benefit the millions of residents who rely on us to deliver services effectively.”

Supervisor Janice Hahn added, “This rating reflects our commitment to managing taxpayers’ dollars responsibly and prudently, even while tackling significant crises.”

Supervisor Kathryn Barger noted the importance of fiscal prudence, stating, “I have worked hard to make prudent financial decisions, including being mindful of debt limits and investing in infrastructure.”

Chief Executive Officer Fesia Davenport pointed out that Los Angeles County is a major economic driver at both the state and national levels. “We exhibit fiscal discipline and resilience through different economic cycles while providing essential services to our nearly 10 million residents,” she said.

The ratings announcement followed the County’s annual meetings with the three agencies, where representatives including Board Chair Horvath and various county officials discussed the County’s financial strategies and achievements.

Treasurer and Tax Collector Elizabeth Buenrostro Ginsberg praised the County’s budgetary management, stating, “It is gratifying to see the County’s longstanding budgetary stewardship recognized by the ratings agencies.”

This high rating marks a significant milestone for Los Angeles County, ensuring continued fiscal health and the ability to fund vital services efficiently.