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Moody's: Miami-Dade decision to restore workers' pay was 'credit negative'

@PatriciaMazzei

Moody’s credit-rating agency on Friday qualified as “credit negative” Miami-Dade County’s decision last week to eliminate a healthcare contribution and restore workers’ pay.

The notice was the latest warning from Moody’s that it could soon downgrade Miami-Dade’s credit rating, which would make it more expensive for the county to borrow money.

“We’re under pressure,” said Ed Marquez, deputy mayor for finance. “They could downgrade us at any time.”

Eliminating the pay concession, which required most workers to contribute 5 percent of their base pay toward group healthcare costs, will require the county to cut $42 million this year from its $4.4 billion budget. That’s on top of a $24 million deficit created by a shortfall in property-tax collections, with little political will to raise the tax-rate for next year, Moody’s report notes.

Miami-Dade still has a credit rating considered a low risk for lenders. But in November, Moody’s gave the county a negative credit outlook, citing a squeeze on Miami-Dade’s emergency reserves.

Marquez said at the time that downgrading the county’s credit rating by one notch could cost $111 million over the next 20 to 30 years in higher interest rates on bonds.

Comments

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Ed Jenkins

The people are extremely upset at this horrible group for wasting taxpayer money by unnecessarily giving more of it to these government workers. If these commissioners wanted to give more money then it should have come out of their own pocket, not from not in the form of more money confiscated from taxpayers both for these salaries and now for higher interest expense on country borrowings which also comes out of taxpayer confiscations.

Fred Jenkins

So much drama over a 1.5% budget shortfall. The $66m will be cut from the budget and the county's bond ratings will remain where they are and will not be lowered. Some services will be cut and some county employees will lose their jobs. The commissioners knew the consequences before they voted to keep the tax rate the same while eliminating the employee contribution. Perhaps they will decide to eliminate each commissioner's slush fund in the budget, but I doubt it.

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