Feb 4 - Fitch Ratings assigns an 'AA+' rating to the following Virginia
Public Building Authority (VPBA) bonds:
--$143.3 million public facilities revenue bonds series 2013 A
--$65.88 million public facilities revenue refunding bonds series 2013B
The bonds are expected to sell via competition on Feb. 7, 2013.
In addition, Fitch affirms the 'AA+' rating on approximately $2.6 billion in
outstanding VPBA public facilities revenue bonds.
The Rating Outlook is Stable.
The bonds represent a limited obligation of the authority, payable from General
--COMMONWEALTH APPROPRIATION OBLIGATION: Debt service derives from direct
payments made by the Commonwealth of Virginia, subject only to legislative
appropriation, resulting in a rating one notch below the commonwealth's general
obligation (GO) bond rating.
--'AAA' COMMONWEALTH GO RATING: The commonwealth's GO bonds are rated 'AAA' by
Fitch, reflecting Virginia's substantial economic resources, conservative
approach to financial operations which includes periodic revenue forecast
updates, and lower-moderate debt burden.
--CENTRALIZED COMMONWEALTH OVERSIGHT: The commonwealth's oversight, payment, and
budgeting processes for appropriation-backed debt are centralized and well
established, with a single debt service appropriation made to Virginia's
treasury board annually.
--PROJECTS ARE LEGISLATIVELY APPROVED: VPBA projects are legislatively approved,
although no security interest exists in the projects.
The 'AA+' rating is based on the pledge of appropriations by the commonwealth,
whose GOs are rated 'AAA' by Fitch. Debt service for the bonds being offered
derives from direct payments made by the commonwealth, subject only to
legislative appropriation. The bonds are issued under the 1997 master indenture,
which utilizes a single payment agreement providing for bond debt service. There
is no security interest in the projects financed under the master indenture.
Proceeds from the current offering will be used to finance certain capital
projects and to refinance certain outstanding VPBA bonds for debt service
Authorization, oversight and management of appropriation-backed debt is
centralized and well established in the commonwealth. Additionally, by practice,
the legislature makes a single debt service appropriation for the bulk of the
commonwealth's debt obligations, including its GO bonds and authority debt
service. The authority's financings involve central commonwealth agencies,
including the authority and the treasury board, which approves all bond issues
payable from commonwealth appropriations. Appropriation-backed debt is an
important element of the commonwealth's debt structure.
The commonwealth's 'AAA' rating reflects its substantial economic resources,
conservative approach to financial operations which includes periodic revenue
forecast updates, and lower-moderate debt levels. Through December 2012 (halfway
through fiscal year 2013), general fund revenues are up 3.5% year-over-year, and
3.0% when adjusted for the continuing phase-out of accelerated sales tax
collection. Both percentages modestly trail budget forecasts of 3.6% and 3.4%,
respectively. The governor recently submitted his proposed budget amendments to
the current biennial budget to the legislature. Highlights include an early
deposit towards the required FY 2015 contribution to the revenue stabilization
funds of $50 million, $59 million to fund 2% raises for public school teachers,
and $45 million to restore aid-to-local reductions.
For more information on the commonwealth's GO rating, please see the Fitch
release titled 'Fitch Rates VA Public School Auth Tax Credit Bonds 'AA+';
Affirms VA GOs at 'AAA', dated Oct. 4, 2012 and available at
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings above
were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been
compensated for the provision of the ratings.
In addition to the sources of information identified in Fitch's Tax-Supported
Rating Criteria, this action was additionally informed by information from IHS
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
--'Tax-Supported Rating Criteria', Aug. 14, 2012;
--'U.S. State Government Tax-Supported Rating Criteria', Aug. 14, 2012.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Tax-Supported Rating Criteria
U.S. State Government Tax-Supported Rating Criteria