OLYMPIA, Wash. - Two ratings agencies have lowered their outlook for Washington's debt, citing the state's ongoing budget troubles.
Moody's Investors Service says that the state faces challenges in fixing structural budget problems. Fitch Ratings has also lowered its outlook from stable to negative.
Moody's noted that Washington faces a revenue shortfall at a time when other states are reporting no budget problems or only minor gaps. The agency said the state's reliance on a sales tax has made it challenging during a recession that has impacted consumer confidence.
Washington lawmakers are working to close a roughly $1 billion budget gap and want to leave a buffer of several hundred million dollars in the state's coffers.