- The Washington Times - Friday, August 5, 2011

A major bond-rating agency will not downgrade its ratings for Maryland and Virginia, but said that the states are still vulnerable to a shaky federal economic picture.

Moody's Investors Services, one of the three major rating agencies, announced Thursday it has reaffirmed the states’ maximum triple-A bond ratings. The agency had placed five states’ triple-A ratings under review and threatened to downgrade them if federal officials were unable to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a federal default.

Moody's considered Maryland and Virginia — which have relied on their triple-A ratings to borrow money at lower interest rates — to be especially in danger because of their proximity to the District and heavy reliance on federal jobs and spending.

The agency re-affirmed all five ratings this week, after federal officials reached a debt celiling agreement, but gave the states negative outlooks, as an unstable federal picture could have future negative effects.

Local jurisdictions receiving negative outlooks include Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, the city of Rockville in Maryland, and in Virginia, the cities of Alexandria and Fairfax, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William counties, and the towns of Herndon and Vienna.