Chances are you’ve seen or heard about the popular television show where people ask professional appraisers to price objects ranging from family heirlooms to garage sale finds. The most memorable moments of the show are when stunned participants find out a piece of junk from their attic is actually a priceless antique. More disappointing moments happen when appraisers describe an items only value as sentimental.

This show frequently reminds its participants and its audience that the market value of some items can be a lot higher than others. Market value refers to the amount of money one would get through the sale of a product on the open market. When we talk about the market value of state investments, we’re speaking about the worth of the state’s assets or the value of its portfolios.

The state has several trust funds invested in various portfolios, and we’ve been able to see an increase of $110 million in their market value because of the good investment decisions we’ve made this year. We need to keep our funds on the right track and not mess with them.

The market value of the Medicaid Trust Fund has increased from $899 million last fiscal year to $967 million this fiscal year to-date. The state uses interest earnings on the Medicaid Trust as state matching dollars to obtain federal funds for healthcare for the elderly.

The market value of the Millennium Trust Fund has increased from $966 million last fiscal year, after the state distributed $106 million to public school systems statewide, to more than $1 billion this fiscal year to-date. Earnings on this fund benefit healthcare, education and the TOPS scholarship program.

The Louisiana Education Quality Trust Funds market value has increased from $888 million at the close of last fiscal year to $896 million this fiscal year to-date. This is after the Treasury distributed $39.9 million in interest earnings to support various projects of the Board of Regents and Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Market value is similar to the value of your home. If you bought a house for $100,000, and put a lot of work into it, it might increase in value to $125,000. But just like you shouldn’t sell your house and go spend the money, we should protect our trust fund balances and invest for the long haul. We don’t need to be raiding our trust funds to get money to operate government.

Market value plays a role in the worth of an item whether it’s a state investment or a one-of-a-kind collectible. This year’s increase is a good indicator that we’ll have positive year-end returns on our investments. The more money we can make on the earnings of these trust funds, the more dollars there are to fund much-needed state services and those are priceless.