Howard County Budget director Ray Wacks told the County Council on Monday that if the federal government's AAA bond rating is downgraded due to federal budget problems, the county's bond rating could be downgraded as well, according to an Explore Howard report.
Wacks told the council that Moody's believes jurisdictions with significant exposure to the federal government, such as through federal jobs, cannot have a higher bond rating than the federal government, reported Explore Howard.
Howard County has kept a AAA bond rating, the highest possible rating, since the mid-1990s, an achievement Howard County Executive Ken Ulman touted in his recent State of the County address.
The bond rating helps the county access lower interest rates on bonds.
On Tuesday, Maryland's Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp warned that the state could lose its AAA rating from Moody's as well if the U.S. government can't find a way to deal with its budget problems, reported the Baltimore Sun.
A Moody's spokesperson told the Sun that Maryland would be one of four states, including Virginia, New Mexico and Missouri, that would be downgraded from AAA if the U.S. government's bond rating is lowered due to the states' economic ties with the federal government.
The two other leading rating's agencies, Standard & Poor's and Fitch, have not issued warnings, according to the Sun.
Ulman Says County is a Model for Maryland