Whether the markets are up, down or somewhere in between, it is important to do everything possible to earn money on your investments. This is especially true when you are investing taxpayer dollars, either on the local or state level. Local governments that are not using the Louisiana Asset Management Pool (LAMP) to earn money for various programs should really take a second look at everything it has to offer.

Nearly 500 participants are currently enrolled in the $1.25 billion LAMP, and more should jump on board to take advantage of this low-cost investment vehicle. It is a great deal for local organizations that need to make the most money possible for their citizens for the least cost. LAMP also levels the playing field so smaller units of government have enough capital to compete with the big players in the investment game.

LAMP enables local officials to pool their money together and collectively invest funds in order to benefit from competitive yields, lower fees, and the same level of investment management available to large investors. The programs three main goals are preservation of principal, daily liquidity (account owners have same-day access to cash by phone, fax or Internet with no fees), and competitive yields.

LAMP’s year-to-date rate of return is 1.2 percent. The pool’s yield of 1.83 percent last year compared favorably with the 90-Day Treasury Bill return of 1.64 percent and the Government Institutional Money Fund 7-day yield of 1.38 percent.

Municipalities, parish governments, school boards, levee boards, sheriff departments, district attorneys, utility districts, local government units and other political subdivisions all qualify for participation in LAMP. Members can securely open and access LAMP accounts online at www.lamppool.com, and since the websites inception, over 800 investment/redemption requests have been processed totaling more than $922 million.

I encourage local governments to visit the LAMP websiteto see how many of their colleagues are investing in the program or call 1-800-249-LAMP for more information. The program really is one of the quiet success stories of state government. Whether funds are used for baseball bats for youth recreation teams or for fire equipment for local firefighters, LAMP works for Louisiana.