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Florida’s post-Irma credit rating still strong, Moody’s says

Rating agency cites Sunshine State economy, tax base, FEMA reimbursements
A view of debris in front of Lori Jones and Kim Kenney’s tent at Castaways RV Park at Father Tony Way & Avenue C in Big Pine Key. Hurricane Irma has led to an affordable housing crisis in the Keys.
Published Feb. 8, 2018

Moody's Investors Service says Florida will retain its high credit rating despite the impact of Hurricane Irma and the ongoing threat of climate change.

The rating agency on Thursday cited the state's "strong economy, growing tax base and the federal government's ongoing resources through FEMA to help cover the costs of storm damages." Moody's similarly praised Texas.

"Both Florida and Texas have strong economic and financial resilience that have helped them rebound from Hurricanes Harvey and Irma," Moody's announced, citing Florida's budget reserve of 11.3 percent of its state tax revenues.

That's more than twice as high a budget reserve as the 50-state median of 4.9 percent, Moody's said.

Other factors that Moody's cited in support of Florida's strong rating (Aa1/stable) are its low state debt ratio and population growth. Florida's population has grown by 31 percent since 2000, and it now approaches 21 million.