S&P says Alaska’s bond rating jeopardized by budget deficit

A ratings agency says Alaska’s bond rating could be lowered if more isn’t done by the state to address its large budget deficit.

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services revised its outlook from stable to negative in a ratings report released Tuesday.

The agency said it would likely lower the rating, possibly by more than one notch, if legislators don’t enact measures to begin correcting Alaska’s “fiscal imbalance” within the next year. Conversely, it said the bond rating could be maintained if lawmakers put Alaska on a path to a sustainable budget, with strong reserves intact.

Alaska is dealing with multibillion-dollar deficits amid low oil prices and using savings to help balance the budget. Gov. Bill Walker’s administration has been holding public meetings to outline for Alaskans the state’s fiscal options.