I have recently written to you about the possible bankruptcy of the state of Illinois, potentially the first state in the country ever to go under financially. But travel a thousand miles east from Springfield, and you’ll land in Hartford, CT a major American city that just had its debt rating cut to junk status. Zerohedge writes:
…on Tuesday afternoon, S&P pulled off the band-aid, and downgraded the city’s bond rating by two notches to BB from BBB-, also known as junk, citing “growing liquidity pressures” and “weaker market access prospects”, while keeping the city’s General Obligation bonds on Creditwatch negative meaning more downgrades are likely imminent.
“The downgrade to ‘BB’ reflects our opinion of very weak diminished liquidity, including uncertain access to external liquidity and very weak management conditions as multiple city officials have publicly indicated they are actively considering bankruptcy,” said S&P Global Ratings credit analyst Victor Medeiros. Hartford has engaged an outside law firm with expertise in financial restructuring. Officials also mentioned that the city would initiate discussions with bondholders for concessions to implement a debt restructuring if it didn’t receive the necessary support in the state’s 2019 biennial budget.
S&P also said that Hartford may be downgraded again if the state passage of a budget is significantly delayed, or if the city were not to receive sufficient support in a timely manner that would enable it to manage liquidity and allow it to meet obligations in a timely manner.
In short: the capital of America’s richest state (on a per capita basis), will – according to S&P – be one of the first to default in the coming months.
So to recap, despite being home to America’s massive hedge fund industry, a big portion of the country’s insurance industry, and loads of wealthy government contracting corporations, Connecticut, and its capital city of Hartford can’t keep the checkbook balanced.