One of the goals I set out to accomplish during my first term as Treasurer was to take the State Treasury to places its never been before. In addition to investing money and balancing the state’s checkbook, I thought the Treasury could do more. I wanted to take this department to new heights.

Another year has drawn to a close, and there are several Treasury accomplishments that I’m extremely proud of.

  • We have used technology especially the Internet to improve all functions of the Treasury, whether its bidding out certificates of deposit or returning unclaimed property to citizens.
  • We’ve made homes more affordable for teachers and families statewide,helping citizens to put down roots in Louisiana instead of migrating out to border state’s.
  • We formulated and completed the sale of 60 percent of Louisiana’s tobacco settlement for $1.2 billion and helped create a trust fund where school districts can place their portion of tobacco settlement revenues. The earnings of this fund are used to benefit early childhood education.
  • We generated $363.0 million in investment earnings for the state and $226.1million for the Louisiana Educational Quality Trust Fund (LEQTF). More than $172million in earnings from the LEQTF went to the Board of Regents and BESE to fund elementary, secondary and higher education projects statewide
  • Since Ive been administrator of the unclaimed property program, we’ve collected $142 million in unclaimed property and returned more than $53 million(62 percent of total refunds since 1972) to Louisiana citizens. Our program is recognized as one of the best in the United States and has been featured twice on national television.
  • We’ve helped contribute to the improvement of the education of our young people, whether in the form of grants for elementary students or accounts for college savings. Our state’s 529 plan continues to be cited as one of the best in the nation and earned the highest rate of return of all state plans during the first half of 2002.
  • We approved 954 bond issues and 92 refinancing for local governments, the proceeds of which were used to build and improve infrastructure, save nearly$111 million for taxpayers, grow thousands of Louisiana jobs, and provide for affordable education.

We’ve accomplished many things for the citizens of Louisiana, but there’s still more that can be done. Future Treasury initiatives include working with state agencies to save taxpayers money by improving internal operations. Our ash management review team has already been successful in this endeavor, and its amazing how the smallest changes in the way state government does business can really add up.

In addition to saving money, we will continue to protect it. We want investment firms to stop conflicts of interest in their business practices. I have met with treasurers nationwide to bring about changes in the way various investment firms do business, and our goal is to increase investment integrity while protecting taxpayers money.

We have several new initiatives and projects in the works to make sure the Treasury keeps moving forward. Progress comes to a halt if you stop working once you reach your goal. Louisiana has made some great strides over the years, but we’ve still got a lot of work to do.

We at Treasury will continue to meet and exceed the goals we set for the department each year. Once old milestones are reached, we will make new ones. We will continue to search for more that we can accomplish. Its what we owe to Louisiana taxpayers.