Manatee County Clerk R.B. “Chips” Shore is ticked off at Standard & Poor's and he's not going to take it anymore.
Shore, in fact, threw a counter punch at the ratings firm, currently immersed in nationwide controversy for its decision to downgrade the U.S. credit worthiness. Shore's anger, though, wasn't based on national credit ratings.
Shore instead reacted to S&P's decision to drop its credit risk rating on Manatee County from AAA+ to AA+.
The ratings firm also issued downgrades for several others government entities, including the city of Los Angeles.
Officials at S&P pinned the Manatee County and other downgrades on being over-exposed to U.S. Treasury investments.
But in a letter to local media, Shore says the county has been unfairly punished for having its portfolio graded when it didn't have to. Shore's ultimate decision: The county won't renew its contract with S&P next year, which will save $20,000.
The downgrade won't impact the county's debt ratings because the contract with S&P was voluntary, not legally required.
But Shore says he will recommend Manatee County dump S&P for any future debt questions. “Moody's and Fitch will do quite nicely,” writes Shore.
“Not only is it our belief that S&P is exaggerating the risk and is disproportionately negative in downgrading the U.S, government debt and, by extension, our investment pool,” writes Shore. “But also that I have lost total confidence in a rating company that rates the bonds of France and Germany over ours.”