Standard & Poor's Corp. this week reaffirmed its AA-minus rating on Mississippi.
"Reflected in Mississippi's rating is a low debt burden, a manufacturing-based economy that has performed with relative stability through the national recession, and an adequate and improving financial position," says a report that appeared in yesterday's Creditweek, Municipal
The rating agency's analysis says the state economy is relatively well positioned to take advantage of any upturn in the nation's economy.
"The timber and furniture sectors are expected to expand as the economy rebounds and also benefit from environmental issues restricting timber production in the Pacific Northwest," the report says.
Standard and Poor's also noted that the state's revenue collections have exceeded projections this year. It pointed out greater-than-anticipated revenues from casino gaming fees, sales taxes, and income tax payments that are expected to generate a $108 million operating surplus for fiscal 1993, which ends June 30.
The rating agency, however, said that the state continues to be bedeviled by low income levels. Mississippi stood at 68.6% of the national average in 1991, ranking last in the nation.
Yet even in this area the rating agency saw some progress.
"In an effort to expand employment and income opportunities for residents as well as expand the state's tax base, several economic development programs have been implemented in the last several years to provide low-cost financing and other economic incentives to new or expanding industry in the state," the report says. "These programs have had some success in attracting technology-based industry to the area.