The 'AA-' rating on Massachusetts' GO bonds reflects: The commonwealth's fundamentally diverse and broad economy, despite the economic slowdown, driven by the high-technology, health care, education, and financial services sectors; A decade-long track record of strong financial discipline and management that has contributed to strong reserves, which, in this economic climate, although diminished in 2002 with a planned reduction again in fiscal 2003, still provides some flexibility; The positive effect from the "forward funding" of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, which the commonwealth spun off as a self-supporting authority on July 1, 2000, eliminating the commonwealth's historical open-ended subsidies; and High wealth and income levels, with the fourth-highest per capita income in the nation at $37,800. Offsetting factors include: Continued...
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