Bond Rating

Maricopa County has a credit rating of AAA on its General Obligation Bonds (implied or issuer credit rating) which is the highest rating available.

Maricopa County's Credit Ratings

General Obligation Bonds (Implied or Issuer Credit Rating)

Debt Instrument & AgencyRatingDate Awarded
Standard and Poor'sAAAJanuary 2020
Fitch RatingsAAAJanuary 2023
Moody's Investor ServicesAaaJanuary 2020

Certificates of Participation

Debt Instrument & AgencyRatingDate Awarded
Standard and Poor'sAA+January 2020
Fitch RatingsAA+January 2023
Moody's Investor ServicesAa1January 2020

Rating Factors

There are 5 primary factors that comprise Maricopa County's credit ratings:

  • Debt Management - Debt Policies, Including Long-Term Planning
  • Debt-History of County - Debt and Debt Position
  • Economic Conditions - Stability of Trends
  • Financial Performance - Current Financial Status and the History of Financial Reports
  • Governmental/Administration - Leadership and Organizational Structure of the County

Pay-as-you-go Financial Policy

Maricopa County made its final General Obligation Bond debt service payment in July 2004 and currently uses a modified "pay-as-you-go" financial policy for large capital improvement projects and other infrastructure. Through this method, capital improvements are paid from the County's current revenue base. The County pays cash for many capital improvements or utilizes lease reversions or other funding sources from the General Fund to pay for large dollar projects.

There are several advantages to the pay-as-you-go method. For example, pay-as-you-go financing will save the taxpayers interest on the bonds which would otherwise be paid on bonds issued to finance the capital programs. The County is not encumbered by as much debt service when economic conditions deteriorate due to normal business cycles. Since the use of current revenues can be adjusted in a given budget year, pay-as-you-go financing can provide greater budgetary flexibility than does a debt issue. The County's long-term debt capacity is preserved for the future. Finally, lower debt ratios may have a positive effect upon the County's credit rating.