On Wednesday, July 11th, Missouri Treasurer Eric Schmitt and Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs joined Education Talk Radio with Larry Jacobs to discuss ABLE. The discussion covered how the Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act can empower Americans with disabilities to achieve financial wellness and independence. Join more than 75,000 listeners per month and tune in on Wednesdays!
After two straight years of lackluster revenue growth, state finances are on the upswing thanks in large part to a stable economy and a one-time boost from December’s federal tax overhaul.
As fiscal 2018 comes to a close on June 30 in most states, total revenue growth for the year is estimated at 4.9 percent. That’s the best year since 2015, according to the latest state fiscal survey from the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO).
The numbers bear that out: Only nine states have been forced to make mid-year budget cuts compared with a whopping 22 last year. Cuts totaled just $830 million in fiscal 2018; a year ago, states had to cut $3.5 billion to balance budgets. And 19 states have increased spending this year to the tune of $1.6 billion, which boosted total spending growth by 3.4 percent or to $835 billion.
Much of the better-than-expected performance is being credited to a continually improving economy and booming stock market. Corporate income tax revenues posted a more than 3 percent increase after two straight years of declines.
States also saw a spike in personal income tax collections as many high-income taxpayers rushed to take advantage of expiring federal tax breaks under the December overhaul. “States are still working to untangle and better understand these trends and the impact of the federal tax law on their revenues,” the NASBO survey reported.
State Treasurer David H. Lillard, Jr. and the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission joined Hillsboro Elementary/Middle School in Leiper’s Fork on Monday to celebrate Financial Literacy Month.
Math teacher Cody Hawk’s 5th grade students at Hillsboro have recently launched Vault – Understanding Money, a web-based financial education platform made available to all Tennessee K-8 schools by the the Financial Literacy Commission. More than 19,000 students across the state have been engaged through the Vault program thus far.
“Our goal is to reach every K-8 classroom across the state,” said Lillard, who also serves as board chairman for the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission. “We believe that Tennessee should lead the nation in financial literacy education.”
Lillard met with Hawk’s 5th grade class while they completed interactive modules through the Vault program and spoke with the students about the importance of learning about money. He then led them in a game of “needs vs. wants,” where students identified whether items like a kitchen stove, movie theater popcorn, and trendy tennis shoes were considered a “need” or “want.”
During the event, EverFi, an online education company that created Vault, also presented Treasurer Lillard with their 2018 Financial Capability Innovation Award, celebrating his impact on financial literacy in Tennessee.
The Commission recently extended its financial empowerment tools to adults with the launch of the Financial Empowerment Resource Library. This web-based education tool covers financial topics such as Budgeting, Building Emergency Savings, Credit Scores and Reports, Home Ownership, Checking Accounts, and Retirement. Each short, interactive module takes 2-7 minutes to complete and provides tips on how to develop smart financial habits in everyday life.
The Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission is a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that relies on donations from individuals and businesses for a majority of its funding.
Financial resources for children and adults are available at TNFLC.org.
National High School Personal Finance Competition to Be in Lincoln in May, Treasurer Stenberg Announces
Lincoln, Neb. (February 22, 2018) – High school students from across the United States will be in Lincoln May 11 to demonstrate their knowledge of economics and personal finance in the Personal Finance Challenge national competition, Nebraska State Treasurer Stenberg announced today at a news conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business.
Joining Treasurer Stenberg in making the announcement were Dr. Kathy Farrell, Dean of the College of Business, and Jennifer Davidson, president of the Nebraska Council on Economic Education, an independent, non-profit organization housed in the College of Business. Also attending the news conference was Kirk Kellner of Omaha, regional president of Wells Fargo, the signature corporate sponsor of the May 11 event.
This is the first time the annual competition will be in Lincoln. Activities will take place at the UNL College of Business. Previously the national competition, now in its eighth year, was in St. Louis or Kansas City.
“We are excited that this event will be coming to Lincoln this year,” Stenberg said.
Dean Farrell said the event will be an ideal opportunity to showcase the fine facilities and excellent educational offerings available at the College of Business and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Davidson said she expects students from as many as 25 states to travel to Lincoln to compete.
“Economics and personal finance concepts and tools are skills all students will need to be successful in life,” said Dean Farrell. “Understanding the importance of budgeting and of saving early to capitalize on compound interest truly changes financial outcomes for the future.”
“I am thrilled to partner with the Nebraska State Treasurer’s Office and Wells Fargo to make this event a reality. It has been over a year of conversation and is finally coming to fruition. Financial products are complicated, and more than ever before, people are required to be responsible for their own financial futures and retirement planning. An event like this is an exciting way to bring attention to the importance of personal finance education. To compete and win, students must learn and understand important personal finance topics and think about future financial planning,” Davidson said.
“It is a privilege for Wells Fargo to work with likeminded leaders and organizations in Nebraska to support programs such as the National Personal Finance Challenge,” said Kellner. “Wells Fargo prioritizes financial education, as a means to strengthen communities across our state and nation, providing people with information that will support good financial choices throughout life.”
Stenberg also announced that the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) has issued a resolution endorsing the National Personal Finance Challenge and encouraging students to prepare, study, and enter the competition. “The future of our national economy, our state economies, and the economic well-being of constituents in member states depends on a well-informed citizenry that understands basic financial and economic concepts and can navigate in an increasingly complex and diverse financial environment,” the resolution said.
“We are also happy to announce that this year the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust will award NEST 529 college savings accounts to winners in the national competition as well as our own state competition,” added Stenberg, Trustee of NEST. “First-place winners in the national competition – like in our state competition – will each receive a $2,000 NEST 529 college savings account. Second-place winners will each receive a $1,000 NEST 529 account, and third-place winners will each receive a $500 NEST 529 account.”
A family does not have to live in Nebraska to open a NEST account, Stenberg said. In fact, there are NEST account owners in every state in the United States. NEST accounts can be used at colleges, community colleges, and technical schools throughout the United States and in many countries abroad.
The teacher of each winning team, both at the state and national levels, will receive an iPad tablet, courtesy the Nebraska Educational Savings Trust.
“The State Treasurer’s relationship with the Council on Economic Education goes back five years to 2013 when my office launched a financial education initiative for high school students. One component was focused on offering an online financial education course to Nebraska schools at no charge to the students or the schools or the taxpayers. The second component was focused on helping exemplary students prepare for college by awarding NEST college savings accounts to winners in the Personal Financial Challenge,” Treasurer Stenberg explained.
“In the end, my goal was to help Nebraskans become aware of our excellent NEST 529 college savings program and to help Nebraska young people become financially responsible adults and contributing members of their communities and their state. I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Assets in our NEST college savings program have grown to $4.8 billion, more than double what assets were when I took office in 2011. The total number of accounts has increased almost 40 percent since 2011. We now have 254,000 accounts nationwide, including 79,000 accounts in Nebraska,” he said
Stenberg said the Treasurer’s online financial education program, developed by EverFi of Washington, D.C., reached almost 10,000 students in 173 schools last school year. The average knowledge gain for high school students – based on pre- and post-testing – was 63 percent. So far this school year, the program has reached more than 7,500 students in 150 schools with more schools committed to using the program before the school year ends.
Spokespeople at the news conference also encouraged Nebraska high school students to get involved in the Personal Finance Challenge. Students must first take individual online tests in their home schools where their scores will be averaged for a team score. Online testing in Nebraska high schools will take place from March 26 to April 9. Teams with the highest combined scores will be invited to the face-to-face competition April 20 at the following locations:
At the face-to-face competition, each team will be given a hypothetical family scenario and asked to come up with a financial plan to be presented to a panel of judges. The first-place team in Nebraska will be chosen based on the face-to-face competition and the online team score. Last year’s winning team in Nebraska was Arthur County High School, which went on to be win third place in the national competition. More information about the Nebraska competition is available at nebraskacouncil.unl.edu.
About the Nebraska Council on Economic Education
The Nebraska Council on Economic Education is a 501 c(3) non-profit organization. It is supported by contributions of private citizens, businesses, civic groups, public agencies, and direct and in-kind support from the Universities that host and sponsor its Centers for Economic Education. Centers are located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, the University of Nebraska at Omaha, the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Chadron State College, and Wayne State College. The mission is to act as a catalyst and lead a statewide initiative to advance economic and financial literacy. For more information, visit nebraskacouncil.unl.edu.
About NEST 529
The Nebraska Educational Savings Trust (NEST 529) is a tax-advantaged 529 college savings plan and provides four plans to help make saving for college simple and affordable: NEST Direct College Savings Plan, the NEST Advisor College Savings Plan, the TD Ameritrade 529 College Savings Plan, and the State Farm College Savings Plan. The Nebraska State Treasurer serves as Program Trustee. First National Bank of Omaha serves as Program Manager, and all investments are approved by the Nebraska Investment Council. Families nationwide are saving for college using Nebraska’s 529 College Savings Plans, which have more than 254,000 accounts, including 79,000 in Nebraska. Visit NEST529.com and treasurer.nebraska.gov for more information.
Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball has announced a record year of unclaimed property returns at over $24,945,000 returned.
Treasurer Ball’s two-year total for unclaimed property returns is over $50 million, more than any two-year period in Treasury history.
“I am proud the Kentucky State Treasury has continued to operate in a fiscally responsible and efficient manner throughout 2017 while also improving current services and implementing new programs,” Treasurer Ball said. “We’ve been focused on delivering good government for Kentuckians.”
Treasurer Ball’s 2017 achievements also include voluntarily cutting the organization’s budget to help with the budget shortfall, as well as turning STABLE Kentucky into a national leader in wealth development for people with disabilities. Treasurer Ball launched STABLE Kentucky in December of last year.
Treasurer Ball earned the role of National Vice Chair for the State Financial Officers Foundation, a national organization for elected financial officials. She also promoted federal policies favorable to middle class families and Kentucky small businesses, including a reformed federal tax code and expanded 529 savings accounts, both which Congress passed and the President signed into law.
Treasurer Ball was also selected by Governing Magazine as one of 25 notable Women in Government for 2017.
Despite this year’s successes, Treasurer Ball said 2018 offers a chance to do even more for the people of Kentucky.
“I’ve certainly got some New Year’s Resolutions,” Treasurer Ball said. “We’ll continue to strengthen STABLE Kentucky as a financial tool for Kentuckians with disabilities, reform Unclaimed Property laws to ease burdens for Kentucky businesses, and pass a legislative package that is good for Kentucky families. I’m excited about 2018 and what we can accomplish.”
To learn more about the Treasurer’s initiatives and priorities, please visit www.treasury.ky.gov.
Louisiana voters Saturday chose Covington businessman John Schroder to be the state’s treasurer for the next two years. He defeated Derrick Edwards 56% to 44% with just over 300,000 total votes cast.
The election was prompted by John N. Kennedy’s election to the U.S. Senate — Treasurer-elect Schroder was elected to complete the last two years in Kennedy’s term.
Schroder is an entrepreneur from Covington. As a state legislator he helped found the “House Fiscal Budget Hawks.” The ‘Budget Hawks’ are a group of legislators committed to ending wasteful government spending, balancing the budget and ending the practice of using one-time money on recurring expenses.
John is a vocal opponent to increasing taxes on Louisiana taxpayers and has been one of several leaders pushing for a streamlined budgeting process and the overhaul of the entire tax system for Louisiana.
John is a graduate of East Jefferson High School, Southeastern Louisiana University, and a Veteran of the United States Army. He is a small businessman, real estate agent, and developer. John has been married to Ellie Daigle Schroder for 31 years. They are the proud parents of two successful children, Brittany and John Michael.
WASHINGTON – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady said Monday night that “there’s very strong bipartisan support for preserving” the tax exemption for municipal bonds and that he expects to have a tax reform bill on President Trump’s desk before the end of the year.
“I don’t want to get ahead of our committee’s work and product that we’ll all see very soon,” Brady, R-Texas, said at the annual meeting of the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association here when asked about the specifics of the expected tax reform bill.
Senior administration officials speaking on background told reporters last month that the tax exemption for municipal bonds will be preserved. But none of the so-called Big Six Republican leaders in the House and Senate and top administration officials who are negotiating the framework of the bill have confirmed it on the record.
Brady’s comment, made during a question and answer session at the SIFMA conference in a downtown Washington hotel, is the closest any of them has come to providing a public reassurance.
WASHINGTON — Demand for municipal bonds is expected to increase and credit spreads get lower in the future because most regional members of the Federal Home Loan Bank system have begun accepting municipal bond issues as collateral.
That was the message Thursday during a webinar sponsored by the National Association of State Treasurers for issuers, investors, municipal advisors, bond attorneys and underwriters.
Mark Pascarella, the webinar moderator and director of debt management for the Indiana Finance Authority, said the takeaway is that higher demand is possible for municipal issuers.
“As an issuer, I have to recognize that there might be some changes I make to an official statement to make the issuance Federal Home Loan Bank eligible,’’ Pascarella said. “There’s some work we’re going to have to do on our end.’’
The payoff, he said, will include an erosion of the liquidity premium.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency has given regulatory approval over the last couple of years for the 10 of the nation’s 11 regionals to include municipal issues as allowable collateral….
Since the NAST Conferences app was launched at the Annual Conference of 2016, we’ve strived to constantly innovate to bring you the best in conference technology experience. NAST partners with Crowdcompass in this endeavor and beginning September 1NAST event apps can be found in the Crowdcompass Attendee Hub app. This change will allow us to provide the most up-to-date and useful features for all of our events.
You can download the new app on your phone by following this link https://crowd.cc/s/11Oq0 or searching for Crowdcompass Attendee Hub in your app store.
This page will be updated soon with more information on how to get your app ready for the 2017 NAST Annual Conference, stay tuned!
For a full conference schedule and registration link, please visit http://nast.org/2017-annual-conference. Registration closes September 11th.
We look forward to seeing you in Boston
Huge thank you and congratulations to our ABLE Committee Chairs @MOTreasurer @Eric_Schmitt and @ILTreasurer Mike Frerichs for their great job..