OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) -- Two ratings agencies have lowered the outlook for Washington's debt, citing the state's ongoing budget troubles.
Moody's Investors Service said in its rationale released Monday that the state faces challenges in fixing structural budget problems. Fitch Ratings has also lowered its outlook from stable to negative, releasing its explanation in a note on Friday.
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 several hundred million dollars as a buffer.