TOPEKA — A federal judge issued a ruling in support of longstanding claims the state of Kansas should take possession of about $150 million in unredeemed, matured U.S. Savings Bonds to improve prospects of identifying the rightful owner, officials said Friday.
Off and on for more than 15 years, Kansas officials have argued the U.S. Department of Treasury should work with the state to identify and return proceeds from matured bonds bought by people with last known addresses in the state. Kansas’ legal counsel asserted the state owned the bonds, despite not possessing the bond certificates issued decades ago by the Treasury Department.
U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Elaine Kaplan’s ruling Tuesday affirmed Kansas’ position on ownership of the so-called “absent” bonds, but stopped short of declaring Kansas could redeem the bonds.
Based on a lawsuit filed in 2015 and endorsed by a handful of other states, Kaplan found the treasury department in breach of contract for refusing to recognize Kansas’ ownership of the bonds.
“The court concludes that the (federal) government’s arguments lack merit, and that the undisputed facts entitle Kansas to summary judgment with respect to its ownership of the absent bonds,” she said in the ruling.
However, the judge noted further court action was necessary because “it is neither necessary nor appropriate for the court to determine at this stage in the proceedings whether Kansas is entitled to redeem the bonds.” In other words, the latest twist in the case only allowed Kansas to secure from the treasury department information necessary to make a request to redeem the bonds…
The Maryland State Treasurer’s Office, the issuer of this Request for Proposals, is requesting proposals to select a broker to market, manage and service insurance policies and related documents for Auto insurance coverages for the State of Maryland.
Proposals are due by 1:00 p.m. on August 31, 2017.
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) announced today that it has been appointed to the Advisory Council of the U.S. House of Representatives Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs, a bipartisan organization focused on balancing the interests of federal, state, local and tribal governments. In a statement, NAST’s President and Oklahoma State Treasurer Ken Miller said:
The National Association of State Treasurers would like to thank Speaker Ryan and Leader Pelosi, as well as Chairman Bishop, for inviting our organization to join the Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs. This bipartisan effort will help strengthen and streamline cooperation between local, state and federal authorities, while providing us with the unique opportunity to reach across jurisdictional lines to solve some of America’s greatest fiscal challenges.
Whether NAST is working to improve our country’s aging infrastructure, help families save for the rising cost of higher education, or enhance state pensions, bank operations and financial literacy programs, we know that real progress is made when elected officials collaborate to achieve a common goal. We look forward to working alongside Speaker Ryan, Leader Pelosi and this bipartisan coalition to address some of the most pressing issues facing our constituencies.
The Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs Advisory Council is comprised of the following member organizations:
· American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)
· Council of State Governments (CSG)
· International City/County Management Association (ICMA)
· National Association of Counties (NACo)
· National Association of State Treasurers (NAST)
· National Association of Towns and Townships (NATaT)
· National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
· National Congress of American Indians (NCAI)
· National Governors Association (NGA)
· National League of Cities (NLC)
· State Policy Network (SPN)
· U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM)
· Western Governors’ Association (WGA)
Bloomberg Government – State Treasurers Group Joining Tax Talks on Capitol Hill
(BNA) — The National Association of State Treasurers is taking a seat on a U.S. House advisory council with plans to press for the tax exemption for municipal bond interest and improvements to college savings plans.
“We are pleased to join a bipartisan group meant to increase cooperation among local, state, and federal governments,” Ken Miller, Oklahoma’s state treasurer and president of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST), told Bloomberg BNA. “We will discuss tax reform, and the municipal bond exemption is an important item for us.”
NAST announced today that it was appointed to the advisory council of the House’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs yesterday by Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). The bipartisan council was established this summer to seek input from state and local governments on issues ranging from tax reform to infrastructure…
WASHINGTON — State treasurers will get a chance to weigh in as a U.S. House task force on intergovernmental affairs continues its work.
The National Association of State Treasurers will join an advisory council to the Speaker’s Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs, the association’s president, Ken Miller, who is also Oklahoma’s treasurer, said Wednesday. “NAST really does welcome the opportunity,” Miller added. Other state and local government groups were previously appointed to the council.
House Speaker Paul Ryan and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced the formation of the task force earlier this year. The panel of House lawmakers met for the first time in June. Its members include seven Republicans and six Democrats.
Preserving the tax exempt status for municipal bonds is a key topic that the state treasurers plan to raise in their discussions with the task force, according to Miller. “That’s really the issue that NAST has been most interested in at that federal level,” he told Route Fifty by phone.
But Miller stressed there will be topics other than the municipal bond tax break on NAST’s radar as the group works with the panel of lawmakers…
The Office of State Treasurer (OST) is an agency of Oklahoma state government created in the state constitution and headed by an elected State Treasurer. OST provides banking, investment, debt issuance, and unclaimed property services for state government with a staff of approximately 46 full time equivalent employees.
House Bill 1583 passed by the Legislature during the 2017 legislative session and signed by the Governor on June 1, 2017 consolidates the state agency of State Bond Advisor into the Office of the State Treasurer and places the State Treasurer on the Council of Bond Oversight effective November 1, 2017. It is the intent of the State Treasurer to fill the position of Deputy Treasurer for Debt Management prior to November 1, 2017 and to transition that position to the role of State Bond Advisor on November 1, 2017.
The State Bond Advisor is a position within the Office of the State Treasurer that reports directly to the State Treasurer and the Council of Bond Oversight. The Council of Bond Oversight is responsible for consideration of the immediate and long‐term fiscal impact of an obligation, the proposed method of sale, the structure of the issue and the public purpose to be served. The Council consists of the State Treasurer, two members appointed by the Governor, one member appointed by the Speaker of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, and one member appointed by the President Pro Tempore of the Oklahoma State Senate.
ESSENTIAL FUNCTIONS, DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Reports directly to the State Treasurer and the Council of Bond Oversight
Responsible for the day‐to‐day operations of the Debt Management Division of the Oklahoma State Treasurer’s Office, including assignment of responsibilities of staff, which currently includes two (2) positions.
Responsible for initiating and maintaining effective relationships with state agency officials and administrators, legislators and their staffs, bond counsel, bond holders, financial advisors, bond rating agencies, and the financial and bond communities within the state of Oklahoma.
Responsible for providing state officers and legislators with advice and assistance on matters relating to capital planning, debt issuance and debt management.
Responsible for reviewing applications for financing and providing summaries of the requests to the Council at its monthly meetings. .
Responsible for coordination of State debt issuance and charged with the following duties:
(i) reviewing and commenting on all requests for proposals (RFP’s) for professional services;
(ii) approving fees and expenses paid to professional service providers;
(iii) providing technical advice to issuers on structuring and marketing of proposed obligations;
(iv) approving interest rates and reoffering yields on all negotiated transactions; and
(v) maintaining records of the State’s outstanding obligations
Assists the Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) with staff support for the Long‐Range Capital Planning Commission
Responsible for development, review, and issuance of the Oklahoma Debt Affordability Study.
Responsible for development, review, and issuance of the State Bond Advisor’s Annual Report detailing state debt.
Provides guidance and support services to State Governmental Entities in the planning, structuring, and issuance of debt.
Represents the state before the rating agencies and credit enhancement providers;
Serve as a member of the Oklahoma Commission on School and County Funds Management.
Serve as a member of the Oklahoma Development Finance Authority’s (ODFA) Program Development and Credit Review Committee.
Responsible for management of the Oklahoma Private Activity Bond Allocation Program.
An incumbent in this class is responsible for directing the conceptualization, implementation and overall administration of the State’s Investment, Banking, and Debt Management programs (collectively, the Programs), as guided, defined and adopted by the Cash Management Policy Board (CMPB) and the State’s issuing Officers (collectively, Governing Institutions).
Essential functions are fundamental, core functions common to all positions in the class series and are not intended to be an exhaustive list of all job duties for any one position in the class. Since class specifications are descriptive and not restrictive, incumbents can complete job duties of similar kind not specifically listed here.
South Carolina’s Future Scholar 529 College Savings Plan reached a major program milestone by exceeding $3 billion in total assets under management.
June 2017 also marked the best June sales month in the 15-year history of the plan.
“We have worked to make Future Scholar one of the best college savings plans in the nation, and exceeding $3 billion in total assets reflects that effort,” State Treasurer Curtis Loftis said. His office administers the program.
“This milestone also demonstrates that more parents than ever understand the importance of investing for their child’s college education, and they are choosing Future Scholar to reach those college investing goals,” he said.
This year Future Scholar is celebrating its 15-year anniversary. Among the growth highlights:
• Total number of accounts has increased from 9,800 to over 134,000.
• Average account size has risen from $8,233 to $20,222.
• Contributions into the plan from South Carolinians have increased 28 percent over the previous year.
Residents of The T&D Region have taken advantage of the savings plan.
As of June 30, 2017:
• Orangeburg County has $8,488,080 in assets in 543 accounts.
• Calhoun County has $2,321,167 in assets in 99 accounts.
• Bamberg County has $1,608,972 in assets in 61 accounts.
It is the intent of this RFP to work in conjunction with the Arizona Department of Revenue (ADOR) to provide Arizona taxpayers the ability, through the Bidder, to pay taxes using major credit cards as an alternative to customary tax remittance processes. The Bidder will be an authorized agent of the State pursuant to A.R.S. § 35-142 (K) for the sole purpose of providing this service.
As payment for the availability and convenience of the activity, the Bidder shall charge the credit card of the taxpayers for fees in an amount the Bidder and the State agree may be charged to the taxpayers using the system(s). This is an agreement for which there is no cost to the State of Arizona. The Bidder is remunerated for services performed through its retention of the fees charged to users at levels agreed upon between the State and the Bidder. No proposal requiring funding from or by the State will be considered.
The successful Bidder will be under contract by the State Treasurer and Department of Revenue beginning when the contract is signed (initial contract term is three years), with two possible one-year extensions thereafter. This contract may be used to provide similar services, in the future, to other state agencies. All formal inquiries or requests for significant or material clarification or interpretation must be directed in writing or by e-mail to: Arizona State Treasurer’s Office, 1700 West Washington, Phoenix, Arizona 85007, RFPproposal@aztreasury.gov.
The Senior Deputy Treasurer-South is responsible for the oversight and management of the Las Vegas Office and its divisions. The Senior Deputy oversees a staff of 18 employees and has two direct reports, the Deputy of College Savings and the Deputy of Unclaimed Property. The Senior Deputy is generally responsible for the following functions: secretary to the Nevada College Savings Board of Trustees, ABLE administrator, Financial Literacy Program Manager and the general oversight of the College Savings Programs Division and the Unclaimed Property Division.
The Senior Deputy Treasurer is also responsible for testifying before the legislature as necessary and for monitoring legislative activity. This position is responsible for requests for proposals, contract management and oversight and budget preparation and supervision.
The Senior Deputy Treasurer represents the Treasurer’s Office at specified public functions and meetings, including interview requests. A full listing of the duties is available upon request.
As Congress and the administration continue to work to overhaul the nation’s broken tax code, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today called on tax stakeholders to provide ideas, proposals, and feedback on how to improve the American tax system.
After years of committee hearings, public statements, working groups, and conceptual exercises, Congress is poised to make significant steps toward comprehensive tax reform,” Hatch said in a letter. “Members from both parties have acknowledged the shortcomings of our current tax system and the need for meaningful reforms to encourage economic growth and alleviate many of the burdens imposed on hardworking taxpayers…As we work to achieve those goals, it is essential that Congress has the best possible advice and insight from experts and stakeholders.
NAST has submitted a comment letter to the chairman with the “strong recommendation that Congress maintain the current tax treatment for municipal bonds,” stressing that changes could “inhibit the ability of state and local governments to continue leading in development of and investment in critical infrastructure throughout our country.”
Three quarters of all public infrastructure projects in the United States are built by the states and local governmental entities. Tax-exempt municipal bonds are the primary tool that state and local governments use to finance highways, bridges, transit systems, airports, water and wastewater systems, schools, higher education facilities, and other public infrastructure.
CSPN has submitted a comment letter as well where they strongly encourage him “to consider the importance of post-secondary education to our economy.”
These recommendations include retaining the current federal tax exemption afforded to earnings on 529 accounts and prioritizing tax policies to support saving for college. In addition to adopting current and past legislative initiatives to make saving in a 529 plans even more attractive to moderate income families and remove some of the current disincentives to college savings. These proposals are reflected in legislation introduced by Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Bob Casey (D-PA) and in the House of Representatives by Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Ron Kind (D-WI).
Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs was in Effingham and Shelby counties recently as part of a larger tour of area communities as he publicized his office’s latest initiatives.
One of those programs, iCash, seeks to pair residents and businesses in Illinois with lost property. Last year, Frerichs says his office hit an all-time high when it came to returning unclaimed property.
“We returned over $155 million,” said Frerichs. “So at a time when the state is not paying its bills, the state isn’t honoring its contracts, the treasurer’s office was writing checks because we think it’s important to get money into the economy.”
Another initiative, the Illinois College Savings program, helps families plan for and prepare children for college-related expenses. Frerichs says since taking office, he has negotiated a drop in the fees charged to participants through one of the state’s two savings plans.
“We cut fees that families were paying on college savings accounts by half,” explained the state treasurer. “Actually, more than half, a 57 percent drop in fees. And what happened when we did that? Morningstar rating service gave us a rating upgrade.”
Following the upgrade, Illinois’ Bright Directions savings program was elevated to one of the top two adviser-sold savings programs in the country.
Since coming into office, Frerichs has also worked on making sure life insurance benefits — more than half a billion dollars worth — are paid out.
“I came in and discovered that life insurance companies that sold policies to people, they died and they never paid out the benefits,” explained Frerichs. “So I think, when that person who had a policy in place dies that money no longer belongs to the insurance company, it belongs to their loved ones. The insurance companies said, ‘No, no. We hold onto it until they come and ask for it.’”
Arising from his audits of two dozen life insurance companies, House Bill 0302 was presented and passed both chambers. The bill would force life Insurance companies to notify beneficiaries going back to 2000 of unpaid benefits and awaits the governor’s signature.
Frerichs was elected as state treasurer in November 2014 after having served as state senator for District 52, which included parts of Champaign and Vermilion counties. Reflecting on his time spent in the General Assembly, Frerichs said the chamber has certainly changed…
NAST Appointed to Congressional Task Force on Intergovernmental Affairs https://goo.gl/do8ZYR