Debt and Other Liabilities: 3. Vermont’s Off-Balance Sheet Debt

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As discussed earlier, there are a number of state-sponsored, autonomous entities that are financed without the direct support of the state government and they have a lot of debt.

Indeed, the total long-term debt of these entities at the end of fiscal year 2016 was $2.6 billion, almost four times greater than the state’s direct indebtedness.

The chart below shows where this debt is sitting and how it’s supported.

 

Debt of State Sponsored Entities: Fiscal-Year 2016

 

Entity Long Term Debt ($ millions) Credit Support
Vermont Student Assistance Corporation 869 Portfolio of Student Loans
University of Vermont 565 Tuition
Vermont State Colleges 117 Tuition
Vermont Housing Finance Authority 430 Portfolio of Housing Loans
All Other Entities 589 Mostly Loan Portfolios

Source: 2016 Comprehensive Financial Report

It should also be noted that UVM and the Vermont State Colleges have a further $261.9 million liability for retiree health benefits.

While the state government has no iron clad obligation to support all this “off-balance sheet” debt, markets probably perceive a moral obligation in the event the financial health of any of these entities headed south. Hopefully, this will never need to be tested.

 

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