Gov. William F. Weld of Massachusetts and Joseph D. Malone, the state's treasurer and receiver general, are expected to discuss their state's economy and debt during a luncheon of the Municipal Forum of New York scheduled for Oct. 22, the group has announced.
The talk will probably spotlight the state's fiscal resurgence, market observers say.
After a spate of budget deficits that caused repeated downgradings of Massachusetts bond ratings starting in 1989, the state has a surplus in its current fiscal year.
According to the state's Department of Revenue, receipts through the end of September exceeded the expected $2.03 billion by $203.5 million.
But even that good news raises some thorny questions, said Claire G. Cohen, an executive managing director at Fitch Investors Service who said she plans to attend the Municipal Forum event.
"What are they going to do with it?" Ms. Cohen said of the higher-than-expected revenues. "Are they going to use it to restore local aid? It just opens up the way for the governor to flight for tax relief and for the legislature to fight for cuts."
Eric M. Turner, the state's deputy treasurer, said that reports of the state's fiscal renaissance may be premature. "We only have a quarter's worth of results," he said, "I don't think anybody would indicate than after a quarter's worth of performance you start making bets about the balance of the year."
But, he added, the state has adopted revenue estimates that were honest as well as conservative. "It's a prudent way to have budgeted," he said, especially since a number of budget-balancing mechanisms totaling about $600 million and including such proposals as a debt swap with the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority are not sure things.
Mr. Turner said that Mr. Malone and the governor will probably address the state's fiscal prospects as well as its recent history. "There'll be both a look forward and a bit of a look backwards," he said. "I think there is a good story, and I think that's been reflected in the reception that our bonds have had in the last sale in the spring and just a few weeks ago. The legislature and the governor have done an excellent job in both working together and in making those hard choices."
The luncheon will take place on the 15th floor of the Downtown Athletic Club, with cocktails beginning at 11:30 and lunch at noon. To reserve a spot at the event, call Donna Volpe at 212-969-1303.