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Arizona’s Credit-Rating Outlook Raised by S&P on Budget Gains

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- Arizona had its credit outlook raised by Standard & Poor’s because of improving finances, removing the risk the state’s bond rating may be cut.

S&P revised the outlook to stable from negative today, indicating the company has no imminent plans to change the state’s AA- rating, the fourth-highest. The revision affects about $3.1 billion of debt backed by annual appropriations, said David Hitchcock, an S&P analyst in New York.

“We base the outlook revision on what we view as Arizona’s improving fiscal outlook,” Hitchcock said in a statement.

The state finished its 2011 budget year that ended in June with a balance of $3.2 million, compared with a $332 million deficit previously forecast, according to a report by the Joint Legislative Budget Committee. Tax collections have exceeded estimates during the current year as well, the report said.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Selway in Washington at wselway@bloomberg.net;

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Tannenbaum at mtannen@bloomberg.net

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