Atlanta - Gov. Nathan Deal plans to meet this week with Fulton County commissioners worried about a downgrade in their credit rating.
Fitch Ratings cited a bill passed by the Legislature this year that caps Fulton's millage rate through Jan. 15, 2015 and makes it more difficult for commissioners to raise rates beyond that date.
Deal says he's not made the decision yet whether to sign the bill.
The ratings agency also cited another piece of legislation that would double the county’s homestead exemption even though the measure did not pass this year.
“The rating agency has already taken their action even though the statute has not been put in place and, from what I have read, apparently there are other factors that were involved other than just those pieces of local legislation that would affect their ad valorem tax rates,” he tells WSB’s Sandra Parrish.
Deal admits a reduction in a local government’s bond rating is a concern meaning higher interest rates on money it borrows.
“We take great pride in the fact that the state of Georgia has maintained a AAA bond rating now from the all three major bond rating agencies, and we’re one of only about seven or eight states in the country that can say that,” he says. “So, the same importance pertains to local governments as well.”
Deal has until May 7 to sign or veto legislation.