04/12/2013 07:45 EDT | Updated 06/12/2013 05:12 EDT

BC Budget Receives AAA Credit Rating, Agency Cites Flexibility


VICTORIA - Standard and Poor's Rating Services has cemented British Columbia's triple A credit rating, following similar credit-and-bond ratings from Dominion Bond Rating and Moody's.

S&P says it has reaffirmed the highest possible rating, citing strong budgetary flexibility and a fiscal plan designed to bring the province's operating budget back to balance.

B.C., Alberta and Saskatchewan are the only provinces with the triple-A stable rating.

S&P says it could revise its outlook to negative or lower the rating if tax-supported debt as a share of operating revenues continue to rise.

Finance Minister Mike de Jong says three top-level ratings coming so soon after Budget 2013 are proof his government's goal of balancing the budget has been well received and the fiscal plan is on course.

The triple-A rating saves taxpayers millions of dollars annually in borrowing costs.

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