SC debt rating would stir more politics than cost

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The threat of a downgrade of South Carolina’s credit rating may not cost taxpayers much, but it’s sure to stir a lot of talk about politics.

Moody’s Investor Service said Tuesday that South Carolina and four other states could lose their top ratings if the United States doesn’t deal with raising the debt ceiling and the nation defaults on its debt.

The rating agency’s top concern for South Carolina involved Medicaid. Loss of federal money for a program that covers a fifth of the state’s residents would create big budget problems.

South Carolina’s high poverty rate and one of the nation’s highest unemployment rates fuel Medicaid eligibility.

Standard and Poor’s lowered the state’s triple-A rating to double-A plus in 2005 but the state didn’t pay more to borrow.

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