Thank You for the Honor of Serving as Your State Treasurer

By State Treasurer Ron Henson

Not much surprises me after 40 plus years in state government. When you’ve been in public service as long as I have, you see both the good – and unfortunately the bad – that exists in all levels of government work. I have been very fortunate to witness more good than bad, and I have had the honor of working with some great public servants and leaders over the years.

Individuals like U.S. Senator and former State Treasurer John Kennedy truly have taxpayers’ best interest at heart and work tirelessly to make Louisiana a better place. It was a privilege to work alongside him for more than 17 years, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve as State Treasurer when he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

I am extremely proud of the accomplishments we at Treasury have been able to achieve during my term as Treasurer. Here are some highlights of the work we’ve done since my swearing in this past January:

  • The Bond Commission approved approximately $2.9 billion in local government bond issuances and nearly $200 million in savings from refinancing local government debt.
  • The Bond Commission sold $189 million in state bonds for roads, buildings and bridges at a favorable interest rate of 3.445 percent. The Commission also refinanced $377 million in Gasoline and Fuels Tax Revenue Bonds to free up more than $54 million for infrastructure projects.
  • The Office of Student Financial Assistance launched a new savings plan called LA ABLE to help individuals with disabilities save money tax-free to gain independence, maintain health, and have a better quality of life. During the first four months of the program, 45 accounts have been opened with deposits in excess of $44,000.
  • The Louisiana Teachers’ Retirement System was Number 2 in the nation on the list of the Top 10 best performing public pension plans for 2017 with a rate of return of 15.94 percent. The Louisiana State Employees’ Retirement System was Number 3 with a rate of return of 15.8 percent.
  • The balance of the Millennium Trust Fund reached a new all-time high of $1.6 billion. The balance of the Kevin P. Reilly, Sr. Louisiana Education Quality Trust Fund reached a new all-time high of $1.5 billion.
  • Our Unclaimed Property Division returned $27.6 million to Louisiana residents this past fiscal year. We held outreach events in Lake Charles and Shreveport where we returned $500,000 in unclaimed money to area citizens.
  • We paid off a 2016 short-term budgetary loan early, saving taxpayers $330,000 in interest and paid back all 2017 inter-fund borrowing on time.
  • We renegotiated the state’s central banking services agreement to incorporate efficiencies, saving $1.8 million over five years.
  • We implemented a Disaster Recovery IT system and a new IT security awareness system for employees. We also launched a more user-friendly Treasury website with enhanced security features that includes upgrades to the state’s unclaimed property database and online claims, improves access to Bond Commission documents, and increases transparency.
  • We joined a nationwide coalition in support of the Fiduciary Standard Rule requiring financial professionals to disclose conflicts of interest when providing investment services related to retirement savings.
  • The Louisiana Asset Management Pool (LAMP) closed out the fiscal year with 681 participants and $1.5 billion under management. The program rebated $825,000 in administrative expenses to participants.
  • The state’s START 529 Savings plan grew to 58,866 accounts and more than $815 million in total assets by the close of the 2016 Calendar Year.

Thank you for allowing me to serve as your State Treasurer and for the confidence you have placed in me over the past 11 months. This experience has been like no other, and it truly has been the pinnacle of my career in public service. Thank you again; it’s been an honor and a privilege to serve you. And may God bless the great State of Louisiana!