- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 23, 2014

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) - New York-based Fitch Ratings is knocking down Pennsylvania’s debt rating for the second time in 14 months, citing the state government’s recurring budget deficits.

Tuesday’s announcement by the credit ratings agency is the fourth time in two years that Pennsylvania’s debt has been downgraded by a major agency. Fitch notes that the state’s $29 billion budget relies on $2 billion in one-time items to balance.

The downgrade takes Pennsylvania from AA to AA minus and puts it in the bottom five of 42 states rated by Fitch. Pennsylvania was last at AA minus in 1997.

Moody’s has downgraded Pennsylvania twice in the past two years, including once in July, and Standard & Poor’s warned in April that it could downgrade Pennsylvania if it didn’t see significant strides to address deficits and pension liabilities.

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