Wall Street gives Minnesota great grades for fiscal health

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports…

For Gov. Mark Dayton and his finance team, last week’s news that Minnesota’s Standard & Poor’s bond rating had been upgraded to AAA — the top rung for states — was a bit like a student learning that he had aced a final exam.

The new rating matched the top marks Minnesota regained from the Fitch agency in 2016 and scored again last week for the third straight year. A third agency, Moody’s, held the state’s rating at Aa1, where it has been since the state budget deficit repair job of 2003. Moody’s explained its reluctance to give Minnesota top marks by noting that the state’s “sound management tools” are “somewhat mitigated by recurring governance issues” — things, we imagine, like a gubernatorial veto of a massive 1,000-page spending bill.

Still, praise from two of Wall Street’s big three rating agencies validates one of the two-term DFL governor’s favorite bragging points: On his watch, Minnesota has regained sound fiscal health.