Ask anyone what his or her first memory of saving money was and chances are it had something to do with dropping coins into a piggy bank. While no one doubts putting away loose change for a rainy day is important, investing state funds has taught me a new spin on the phrase a penny saved is a penny earned. Its not just important to save pennies, its important to do so wisely, so that you make the most money possible for Louisiana citizens.

Investing the state’s money requires a lot of hard work, and our professionals at Treasury constantly watch financial markets to keep track of the earnings on state funds. You may not realize it, but we currently have 15 portfolios invested. The one most people have heard about is the general fund. This fund helps make things happen in state government, and without it, the state would not be able to provide much needed services to citizens.

With the general fund, were investing more than just a few penniesmore like $3 billion at any point in time. The fund is diversified in a variety of investments including overnight repurchase agreements, certificates of deposit, commercial paper, corporate notes, government agency securities and treasury securities. The majority of the fund is invested in U.S. Treasury notes, Federal Home Loan Bank notes and Federal National Mortgage Association notes.

As a result of saving the money in the general fund wisely, the Treasury has earned more than $95 million over the past nine months. This is a good sign that our investments are in good shape, because we usually earn around $100 million a year in interest on the fund.

In order to meet statutory requirements for investing taxpayers money in the general fund, each fiscal year we compare our investments to the performance of the 30-Day Treasury bill and the Two-Year Treasury note. With a nine-month yield of 3%, general fund investments so far have outperformed the 30-Day Treasury bill, which earned 1.7%. Investments also compared favorably to the Two-Year Treasury note, which is currently yielding 3.16%.

When our general fund investments perform well, your tax dollars are working for you. The more money we make investing, the more dollars there are to fund state agency programs and initiatives that benefit taxpayers. With the state’s general fund investments, a penny saved wisely is a penny earned, and were looking forward to meeting or exceeding our year-end investment goals as we get closer to the end of the fiscal year.