Each year, the Louisiana Department of the Treasury collects information on state investments and department programs to see what kind of job it is doing for its customersLouisiana taxpayers. This year in particular, the results are good news for our state.

I am proud of the accomplishments we have made providing better agency services to the public, increasing the use of technology in the workplace, and investing state funds. Listing all of the departments accomplishments in 2001 would have taken up pages, so Ill mention some of highlights.

New Legislation

New state and federal legislation this year had a dramatic and positive effect on the way we serve the public. The Treasury successfully wrote and passed legislation authorizing the sale of up to 60 percent of the state’s multi-billion dollar tobacco settlement. Because of this, we were able to go to market in the fall and net $1.2 billion in proceeds to benefit healthcare, education and the TOPS scholarship program.

New legislation also made Louisianas START program tax-free from start to finish. Other changes to the program make it easier than ever for parents to save for their childrens higher education.

Technology

This year, we upgraded our information technology hardware, software and infrastructure in order to do a better job for citizens. We conducted our first Internet auction of state certificates of deposits; we began publishing our annual report completely online, and made our State Bond Commission agendas available on the Web. We are also leading a state group to create a mechanism where state agencies can use the Internet to accept credit card payments.

Improved Services

In addition to improving technology, weve been working to improve our services to the public. The Treasurys Unclaimed Property Division had a record-breaking year giving back more than $8 million in refunds to Louisiana citizens and collecting more than $31 million from Louisiana businesses. Our aggressive efforts to promote the program are still paying off as more individuals claim their money and more businesses turn over lost funds to the state.

Investments

Our state investments are performing well, even in the wake of national tragedy. The Louisiana Asset Management Pool passed the $1 billion mark, and the Louisiana Education Quality Trust Funds internally managed portfolio returned 11.7 percent.

Our investment and management of your taxpayer dollars are both in top shape, judging from the Legislative Auditors unqualified audits of Treasury operations and our administration of the Transportation Trust Fund. We will continue to manage your money with the highest integrity.

Although we have accomplished a lot in 2001, we wont rest on our laurels. We have some great new initiatives in the works. We will also continue to improve customer service in the months and years ahead, especially by adding more agency services to our Web site. For more information on any of the work we do for you at Treasury, please visit us online at www.latreasury.com.