California gets an A- from S&P

California gets an A-! No, that's not some achievement score. An A- is actually a credit downgrade from Standard and Poor's:

California’s credit rating on $64 billion of general obligation bonds was cut by Standard & Poor’s today as the most-populous U.S. state faces renewed strains over a $20 billion budget deficit.

Gabriel Petek, a San Francisco-based S&P analyst, said the rating was lowered one level to A-, the seventh-highest investment grade. He said the company has a negative outlook on California debt, a sign its standing may decline further. The rating company also cut $13.3 billion of other state debt, including that backed by lease payments.

“This is probably the beginning of a lot of negative press the state is going to get,” said Kenneth Naehu, who invests $2.5 billion in municipal bonds for Bel Air Investment Advisors in Los Angeles and sold California bonds last year in anticipation prices would slide. “Fear will persist in the marketplace again.”

California already had the lowest rating of any U.S. state as the national recession depressed tax revenue. The imbalance has increased the state’s borrowing costs and prompted Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to seek about $7 billion of aid from the federal government.

California Dreamin' may just go up in smoke and the motto might be the FUBAR state.

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