According to nj.com:
New Jersey on Monday was hit with its 10th credit downgrade under Gov. Chris Christie, reflecting growing government worker pension obligations that are among the highest in the U.S.
Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services lowered the state’s rating from “A” to “A-“. The move comes after the rating agency Standard and Poor’s Ratings Services revised its outlook for New Jersey from stable to negative over concerns with the declining pension funding levels and rising retirement liabilities.
“We base the downgrade on our expectation that state budget pressures will intensify in future years,” analyst David Hitchcock said in a statement. “Recent events have added incremental out-year budget pressure, in our opinion, to what is already a sizable structural budget imbalance driven primarily by pension underfunding.”
Decades of underfunding have weakened the pension system, as have more recent poor investment returns. The fund lost 0.87 percent in the fiscal year that ended in June, based on unaudited figures, and investment returns in the year before were 4.16 percent.
As of July 1, 2015, New Jersey’s state and local pension funds have just 37.5 percent of the funding it needs to pay for future benefits. That is based on new reporting standards that require the state to project lower investment returns and had bleak consequences for the state’s estimates.
New Jersey’s state and local pension funds had slightly more than $217 billion in liabilities and $81.4 billion in assets, leaving it with $135.7 billion in unfunded liabilities, up from $113.1 billion as of July 1, 2014.
The gap between what the state actually pays in each year and what is recommended by actuaries to keep up with the piling obligations contributes to a so-called structural budget imbalance that S&P said is now equal to 13 percent of the state’s budget.
2/9/11 S&P Downgrade: AA- from AA
4/27/11 Moody’s Downgrade: AA3 from AA2
8/18/11 Fitch Downgrade: AA- from AA
4/9/14 S&P Downgrade: A+ from AA-
5/1/14 Fitch Downgrade: A+ from AA-
5/14/14 Moodys Downgrade: A1 from AA3
9/5/14 Fitch Downgrade: A from A+
9/10/14: S&P Downgrade: A from A+
4/16/15: Moodys Downgrade: A2 from A1
11/14/16: S&P Downgrade: A- from A