Standard & Poor's boosted Minnesota's debt rating outlook to "positive" Wednesday, immediately ahead of the state's sale of $1 billion in general obligation bonds. 

The improved rating from "stable" is the result of the "state’s payment of its deferred liabilities and improved structural balance alignment,” Standard & Poor's said, according to a statement by the Minnesota Management and Budget Office. 

"[S]hould the state continue to demonstrate a strong commitment to structural balance and avoid using payment deferrals or shifts, while managing budget growth pressures, we could raise the rating,” the statement said. 

Gov. Mark Dayton praised the improved rating, saying in a statement that "it proves our financial management is on the right track."

State officials on Wednesday also finished a $1-billion sale of general obligations bonds. The proceeds will pay for construction projects throughout the state, including highway projects, renovations of higher education facilities and other economic development initiatives.