I’ve been serving as State Treasurer for a little over 100 days now, and it’s so rewarding to come to the office every day and work for Louisiana taxpayers. I promised when I took this job that transparency would be at the forefront of everything I do as Treasurer.

In my opinion, transparency includes being an open book when it comes to Treasury operations and educating the public about the important work we do. Last month I featured the Treasury’s Investments Division, and in this month’s column, I will highlight the work of our Fiscal Control Division.

First, a little background. The 1974 Constitution spelled out that the receipt and disbursement of public funds would be centralized in the State Treasury. We accomplish this by depositing funds into a central depository bank account with a state bank selected through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process. One of the main functions of the Fiscal Control Division is to provide an accounting of public funds deposited into the state’s central bank.

The Fiscal Control Division validates deposits to ensure all monies are accounted for and made available for investment and disbursement. This is a complex function involving the receipts of paper checks and electronic receipts from state agencies required to make deposits into the Treasury.

The Fiscal Control Division reconciles this activity each day and at the end of each month, much like you reconcile your checkbook. This past year, the Fiscal Control Division processed 11.9 million deposit items and 67,641 credit items, resulting in deposits made in excess of $38.4 billion.

The Fiscal Control Division also plays a crucial role in controlling the disbursement of public funds on deposit. The Division carries out this function by validating the state’s budget into the state’s accounting system to ensure that agencies only spend money according to the Legislature’s authorization. Not a dime goes out to state agencies to spend unless this function takes place.

The Fiscal Control Division works closely with our Investments Division to determine the state’s cash position each day so that the Investments Division can invest monies that are not needed for immediate disbursement. This particular function is crucial to managing the state’s cash to obtain the maximum interest income, which is an important source of non-tax revenue to the state. The Fiscal Control Division performs accounting for the state’s various investment portfolios, records daily investment purchases, sales and maturities, and provides a reconciliation of the state’s accounting system to the investment portfolio tracking system.

Other duties of the Fiscal Control Division include:

• Auditing and compliance of cooperative endeavor agreements within the department with local governments and non-profit organizations to verify that appropriations to these entities are not wasted or spent incorrectly.
• Reconciling the state’s unclaimed property bank account and issuing unclaimed property checks.
• Administering the voluntary Social Security and Medicare coverage program for all public state and local government employees throughout the state of Louisiana, also known as the state’s Section 218 Agreement.
• Administering hundreds of Constitutional and statutorily created funds within the Treasury.
• Performing the accounting of appropriations and lines of credit to allow the Office of Facility Planning & Control, Department of Transportation and Development, Department of Economic Development, Military and the Coastal Protection & Restoration Authority to manage the capital outlay distributions they receive each fiscal year.
• Disbursing public funds to local governments, which include but are not limited to state revenue sharing, the parish transportation program, deputy sheriffs’ supplement pay, royalty and severance tax distributions, video poker, 2% fire insurance premium allocations, and state sales tax dedications.

The Fiscal Control Division is the backbone of the state’s banking and financial operations. It plays a critical role in meeting the Treasury’s constitutional mandates for the receipt, custody, investment and disbursement of public funds, thereby protecting the interest of all of state government and Louisiana citizens.