I think they are comparing the financial statement effects of including the SPE in the balance sheet vs. excluding it.
When a company has receivables and needs cash it has two options. It can either borrow straight from the markets against its receivables or sell it receivables to an SPE for cash.
In the first case, borrowing would increase cash and liabilities by the same amount, so total assets are higher but equity remains unchanged (because liabilities increased by the same amount).
In the second case, the company simply converts its receivables to cash with no changes in assets or equity. Instead the SPE borrows from the markets to buy the receivables from the parent company and manages the collection of debt to repay those from whom it borrowed.
If the parent company is expected to absorb the losses of the SPE despite it being a legally separate entity, then the second situation is not a true and fair representation of the underlying economic situation of the parent company and the SPE should be included on the balance sheet.
Including the SPE on the balance sheet means recognizing the receivables it purchased and the its debt to the markets - so assets and liabilities increase by the same amount. Total equity is unchanged but total assets are higher.
The point is that, while selling the receivables appears to result in relatively lower leverage ratios in an accounting sense, it is the same exact transaction in an economic sense.