Fiscal Year 2002-2003 (FY 2003) was more than just another year for me. It marked the completion of my first term as Louisiana’s State Treasurer. We have accomplished a lot over the past four years, and some highlights for FY 2003 in particular include:

The Treasury’s General Fund investment portfolios cumulative income reached $3 billion.

The state’s major trust funds earned $121 million, and the Louisiana Education Quality Trust Fund had a rate of return of 12.1 percent. The Millennium Trust Fund yielded 4.09 percent, and the Medicaid Trust Fund had a yield of 4.94 percent.

The Rainy Day Fund totaled $191.1 million.

The START 529 plan closed the calendar year with a 5.33 percent rate of return, $37.5 million in total assets, $36.4 million in total contributions and11,545 accounts.

Fitch, Moody’s and Standard and Poor’s upgraded the state’s credit rating.

Treasury collected $27.6 million in unclaimed property from Louisiana businesses and refunded a record $12.9 million to Louisiana citizens.

Treasury managed 14 General Obligation debt issues totaling $299 million.

The Louisiana Asset Management Pool had 493 participants and $1.26 billion under management.

Treasury bid out $100 million in CDs to Louisiana banks online to increase economic development statewide.

There is still much more to be done. We must make the right decision about selling the remaining 40 percent of our tobacco settlement so that we fully safeguard our education, healthcare and TOPS dollars. We must continue to look for innovative ways for state government to operate smarter and more efficiently. We must improve our state bond rating further so that the nation and the world will know that Louisiana is a place where businesses can flourish and families can prosper.

During my time as treasurer, I have learned so much about Louisiana, its people and its promise. I commit that I will work with you and all of our state leaders to face the challenges before us with dedication, integrity and honor. The taxpayers of Louisiana deserve no less.