While federal negotiations continue on raising the U.S. debt ceiling, Vermont’s State Treasurer is cautioning that the seeming impasse could negatively impact Vermont’s hard-earned Triple-A bond credit rating. ‘Yesterday, we learned from Moody’s Investor Services that even the highest-rated states, including Vermont, would have their ratings reviewed next week in light of the continued U.S. debt ceiling debate,’ said State Treasurer Beth Pearce. ‘However, I’m confident Vermont’s track record of fiscal responsibility will serve us well in any rating review. Vermont has the highest credit rating in New England, one of the highest ratings in the country, a strong cash position and healthy reserves.’ Pearce said such disappointing news concerns her because the State’s high bond rating enables Vermont to borrow funds for critical infrastructure needs at very low rates and save taxpayers millions of dollars in interest payments. On July 13, Moody’s placed the U.S. government’s debt ratings on review for possible downgrade. Moody’s informed the Treasurer’s Office that it also was concerned that states would be negatively impacted by disruptions caused by the failure to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. State and federal governments sell bonds to investors to borrow money to make investments in areas such as public infrastructure. In Vermont, money raised by a bond sale funds a wide range of capital purposes, including State building construction and maintenance, health and public safety, and pollution control projects. The higher such bonds are rated, the more creditworthy a rating agency evaluates the bond issuer to be. Vermont bonds are rated Triple-A by Moody’s and Fitch Ratings and Double-A+ by the Standard & Poor’s Ratings Service. ‘The debate in Washington is a painful reminder that even though Vermont is fiscally sound and we are responsibly managing our finances through this economic downturn, we also are affected by national public policy decisions. It would be regrettable if all of the hard work and sacrifice that State government, employees and taxpayers have made to earn Vermont’s excellent ratings is put at risk due to events beyond our control,’ said Pearce. Vermont’s next general obligation bond sale is not scheduled until mid-October and Pearce said the State has sufficient cash balances and receipts to delay that sale even further if necessary. ‘We are fortunate that we can get through any short- or even medium-term bond market disruption,’ explained Pearce. ‘Many states are not in such an advantageous position. If a resolution to the debt ceiling issue is not forthcoming, debt markets will be volatile. States and municipalities with lower credit ratings may have difficulty accessing the market at affordable interest rates, if at all. I remain hopeful, however, that a resolution will take place before the deadline.’ The Treasurer’s Office has worked closely with State officials to review rating agency concerns and to develop contingency plans. Vermont has sufficient liquid cash reserves to manage delays in receipt of federal funds, and all of its existing debt is fixed rate and long term, which protects it from both rising interest rates and ‘rollover’ risk.
To USC closer Chad Smith, it must have been something out of a dream.The junior righty and Los Angeles native was jogging across the Dodger Stadium outfield grass on his way from the bullpen to the pitcher’s mound. He was taking the same route as Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax and Orel Hershiser.“It was pretty special,” said Smith. “I get chills just thinking about it.”There were two outs in the eighth inning, the bases were loaded and the Trojans were leading 2-0 over No. 13 UCLA when Smith was called in for the four-out save. He got UCLA first baseman Dean Espy swinging on a 2-2 count to end the eighth, and then tossed a perfect ninth to seal the Trojan’s (5-10) victory over the Bruins (8-6) on Sunday afternoon at Dodger Stadium.USC senior starter Logan Odom scattered just four hits over seven and one-third scoreless innings, walking just two and striking out four. It was what’s come to be expected of Odom, who has a 1.66 ERA in his last three starts—all have come against ranked teams.“Odom’s been great this whole year for us,” said USC interim coach Frank Cruz. “He has a ton of confidence right now and we have a ton of confidence in him.”For the first time in their last eight games, the Trojans got on the board first. With two down in the third, junior catcher Kevin Roundtree was hit by a pitch for the second time in the game. After a walk, junior first baseman Ricky Oropesa came through with a bloop knock just over the head of the Bruin’s second baseman to bring in Roundtree.Junior right fielder Alex Sherrod led off the USC fourth with a walk, and junior left fielder Garret Houts followed that with a hit-and-run single, advancing Sherrod to third. With one out, sophomore third baseman Adam Landecker knocked in Sherrod with a single through the right side that put runners at the corners once again with one out, but they were stranded.It was the decisive eighth inning that had all the makings of a rivalry game. After Odom left the game to a rousing standing ovation with one on and one out, freshman lefty specialist Bobby Wheatley came in and struck out his hitter. But then two different USC pitchers plunked Bruin hitters with the first pitch they threw to load the bases. Out came coach Cruz for his fourth pitching change in as many hitters, and the UCLA crowd let him know exactly what they thought of his micromanaging.“Oh I heard them all right,” Cruz said about the UCLA fans. “But it didn’t matter. I was doing what I thought we needed to do.”Turns out, Cruz was right, as Smith came in and shut the door.The win was USC’s second in its last 11 games, something that was not lost on the Trojans.“This is the kind of thing that can set the tone for the rest of the season,” said junior first baseman Ricky Oropesa. “We showed today that we all still believe in each other and pull for each other and we don’t quit.”And the fact that it was UCLA was not lost on anyone either. 11,680 fans came out to Chavez Ravine Sunday to see the rivalry, and the players felt it.“I can’t explain how big it is,” Odom said. “It really lifts the team spirits.”Said Smith, “There is no other team who you wanna beat more.”The Trojans host Louisville in a two-game series Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning a 10-game homestand.
Dear Editor,Some people seem to feel that running a Government is a sole proprietor business – a one-man business – but this is so far from the truth.It is a known fact that a Party goes into an election with a manifesto which sells the party to the electorate. If the party wins, then it is a team effort comprised of persons who should have the ability to deliver on those promises. In addition, there are many advisors who are strategically appointed to assist these persons. The presidential elect not only gives guidance but takes guidance.In Guyana the coalition and the new kids on the block with their handful of supporters, some claiming to be disgruntled PPP members and supporters, are hammering away at the election of Mr Irfaan Ali as the PPP’s presidential candidate, making their repetitive rounds of personal attacks while claiming that he is “Jagdeo’s third term”.Bharrat Jagdeo has always been the focus of attack in and out of Office; his salary, his pension, his “mansion” as is claimed. Yet even the Prime Minister is now earning more than him and living the “Cadillac” lifestyle. This Government utilised great efforts and massive financial resources to ensure that he does not get a third term as President since they are mortally afraid of his sharp intellect and his topnotch statesmanship. The decision of the Caribbean did not deter or daunt his spirit. It must be recalled by Guyanese that after the PPP’s defeat by a one-seat majority, he rose from the ashes like the proverbial Phoenix and began a political crusade that was unrelenting in exposing the corruption and thievery of the coalition. His weekly press conferences were just as eagerly looked forward to as “Days of Our Lives”!Jagdeo’s relentless pursuit bore fruit and gave hope to the hopeless in this country which had begun to fall into the abyss of social and economic degradation. But while he did the Herculean task, some were waiting like hyenas to partake from the kill of the lion. A few of these were in the media headlines for all the wrong reasons! Now he is being vilified once again by those heartless opportunists who never even bat an eyelid for their country. But I know that it will never derail his focus of ensuring the good life for his people!As I recall, when Donald Ramotar became the presidential candidate twice for the PPP, there were no cries, wails and gnashing of teeth. He was not seen as the surrogate or puppet of Jagdeo.It was acceptable because they knew that they could outmanoeuvre him at any time. In fact, they dubbed him the “Lame Duck”!The then Opposition took full advantage of this and Nagamootoo tabled a no-confidence motion which saw his Government’s downfall.Ramotar was the ‘perfect’ opponent and the coalition wants another one. However, when one listened to the debates and presentations of Irfaan Ali, it is evident that he has what it takes not only to run this country but to destroy the corruption posse and thwart the efforts of the APNU/AFC to bring down his Government. He has that charisma, courage and competence and enough has been said about his achievements as a Minister. Let them call it what they want but Irfaan Ali is no Donald Ramotar and will never be an easy walkover!As a member of the PPP, I am in total agreement with the election of any presidential candidate since I have full confidence in the ability of my Party to choose the best candidate.The Central Committee has 35 potential candidates from which one must be chosen. When I was with the Alliance for Change I had no problem with either Trotman of Ramjattan being the presidential candidate.When I joined the PPP I had no problem with Ramotar being the presidential candidate twice and today I have no problem with Irfaan Ali being the presidential candidate. Let us put Guyana first and focus on the removal of this corrupt Government. God Bless our presidential candidate and God Bless Guyana!Yours sincerely,Haseef YusufRDC CouncillorRegion Six