Technology is changing the way we do business in Louisiana. Computers and the Internet are helping companies across the state work smarter, faster and better than ever before. State agencies that take full advantage of technology, especially the resources available to them on the World Wide Web, can improve the services they provide to their most important customers the taxpaying public.

At the Louisiana Department of the Treasury, we are using the Internet to revolutionize the way we serve our customers, including investors who want to place bids on state bonds. For the first time in the state’s history, we recently conducted a bond sale completely in cyberspace.

The Internet enabled us to sell bonds in a matter of minutes. Investors did not have to report in person to place their bids, and they could do so up to the last second before bidding ended. The electronic bond sale helped us save the state and online investors valuable time and money.

Using the Web, we accepted competitive bids on $347 million worth of general obligation state bonds. Three investors placed their bids online, and Goldman Sachs beat Merrill Lynch and Paine Webber with a 5.19 percent interest rate.

The interest rate on this years online bond sale was significantly 30 basis points less than our 1997 competitive bond sale, resulting in a savings of approximately $12.5 million for the state over the life of the bonds. Louisianas improved financial situation and recent fluctuations in the stock market helped contribute to the favorable bond market.

Continued efforts to reduce state debt have also positively impacted the bond market. There has been a 49 percent per-capita reduction in net state tax supported debt from 1991 to 1999, making Louisiana a leader in the nation in this endeavor. The upgrade of Louisianas bond rating by Standard and Poors from A- to A was also perceived by the markets as a step in the right direction.

Proceeds from the Internet bond sale will fund capital outlay projects that will benefit higher education, local governments, transportation projects, public safety and corrections, and tourism, among other areas. The success of the bond sale and the improved financial situation of the state are the results of the hard work of the Bond Commission, the Administration and the Louisiana Legislature.

In the future, the Louisiana Department of the Treasury plans to sell all bonds online, and plans to use the Internet to seek investments on state funds. We are confident that this will help us continue to keep Louisiana moving in the right direction. We will also continue to take advantage of technology, including the resources available to us on the World Wide Web, in order to serve the public better.