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On behalf of the District, I would like to welcome you to our new investor relations website. We appreciate your interest and investment in bonds issued by the District, as it allows us to make critical investments in public infrastructure throughout the District. We are committed to maintaining our strong bond ratings, and we are also committed to being as transparent as possible with the investor community and public at large.
I hope you find this website useful as you seek to better understand the credit fundamentals of the District of Columbia. Please do not hesitate to contact our office with suggestions for how we can be doing better. Thanks again for your interest in our bond program.
Jeffrey S. DeWitt, Chief Financial Officer
Questions have been raised about the District’s recently submitted FY2020 budget and financial plan and concerns have been voiced that the budget is not responsible and could result in the return of the Control Board.
As the independent Chief Financial Officer (CFO) of the District, I am required by federal law to certify that the budgets submitted by the Mayor to the Council, and ultimately to Congress, are balanced. In my March 20, 2019 letter, included in the proposed budget, I state, “that the FY2020 - FY2023 budget and financial plan is balanced.” I stand firmly by that statement.
With the federal government still eyeing another possible shutdown, it wouldn’t have seemed like a good time for the nation’s capital city to borrow nearly $1 billion in the bond market.
But if there was any concern among investors when the securities were offered early Wednesday, it didn’t register in the prices, despite how dependent its economy is on government spending.
When the District of Columbia sold almost $950 million in bonds, the difference between the yields it paid and top rated debt -- a key measure of risk -- were virtually unchanged from when it sold securities in July. Underwriter Bank of America Corp. set the yields on 10-year bonds at 2.35 percent, or 0.13 percentage point over AAA rated securities, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. In this summer’s sale, that gap was 0.14 percentage point.
The warm bond-market reception illustrates how much Washington’s finances have steadied since the 1990s, when Congress put a control board in place to balance its budgets. Its fortunes have since turned around significantly, thanks to increases in government spending, rising real estate values and an influx of residents. S&P Global Ratings, which gives its bonds the second-highest grade, says the city’s "economic and financial strength is at an all-time high."
Although the prospect of another partial government closure appears to have dwindled, with President Donald Trump saying Wednesday he doesn’t "want to see a shutdown," the bonds were marketed ahead of his comments.
On January 22, 2019, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer released a report estimating the impact of the federal government shutdown on the District of Columbia's revenues.