NAST is seeking a qualified candidate for the role of Executive Director. The Executive Director serves as Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST), headquartered in Washington, D.C., with a satellite office in Lexington, KY. The Executive Director and NAST staff also provide, by contract, staff services to the National Association of State Treasurers Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, which is an affiliate of NAST.
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All applicants must submit a resume, cover letter and writing sample to email@example.com
GALENA – Kansas Treasurer Jake LaTurner is launching his tour of Kansas’ 105 counties to promote many of the programs and services administered by the Treasurer’s Office. The tour will be starting in LaTurner’s hometown of Galena in Cherokee County on Monday, June 12. Treasurer LaTurner and his staff will be in Galena at the Galena City Hall in the Community Room from noon to 1:30 p.m.
“My goal as the State Treasurer is to help Kansans plan and prepare for the future,” said LaTurner. “I’m really excited to be launching my 105 county tour in my hometown of Galena. Throughout the tour we will be promoting four very important and rewarding missions at the Treasurer’s Office: Returning unclaimed property to its rightful owners, helping Kansans save for higher education, empowering individuals living with a disability and their loved ones to save for disability related expenses, and increasing the financial knowledge of all Kansans. I look forward to offering the most vital functions of the Treasurer’s Office directly to Kansans in their hometowns.”
The State Treasurer’s Office is currently safeguarding $350 million in unclaimed property and is charged with returning it to its rightful owners and heirs. Unclaimed property includes inactive savings and checking accounts, uncashed checks, stock shares and bonds, dividend checks, insurance proceeds, mineral royalties and utility deposits. Kansans who can’t make it to the event may call the State Treasurer’s Office at 1-800-432-0386 or log onto www.KansasCash.com to search for unclaimed property. There is no cost to search and claim your rightful property.
Along with assisting Kansans in their search for unclaimed property, Treasurer LaTurner and staff will be talking to Kansans about how the Office can help Kansans plan and save for the future. The Treasurer’s Office administers the Learning Quest 529 Education Savings Accounts, which helps Kansans save for the students in their lives. The funds are invested and then can be utilized for higher education expenses.
Treasurer LaTurner and his staff will also be helping people living with a disability save for their future by signing eligible Kansans up for the brand new ABLE accounts. The Kansas ABLE checking accounts help make paying for qualified expenses safe and easy, and they continue to empower individuals with disabilities to gain financial independence and save the money they earn.
For more information on the Kansas State Treasurer’s Office, please visit www.kansasstatetreasurer.com.
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State Treasurers and Public Finance Experts Aim To Improve Financial Literacy Nationwide
MINNEAPOLIS— On the heels of April’s Financial Literacy Month, more than a dozen state treasurers from across the country have arrived in Minneapolis to discuss rising college costs and public financing issues during the National Association of State Treasurers’ (NAST) 2017 Treasury Management Symposium.
The four-day event represents the largest annual gathering of state treasurers and public officials in the country, and will help set the stage for 529 Day on May 29th, a designation intended to raise awareness around the benefits of 529 College Savings Plans.
Oklahoma State Treasurer Ken Miller, President of NAST, said, “I am proud to welcome hundreds of financial experts, elected officials and treasury professionals to Minneapolis, where we will have the unique opportunity to reach across state lines to discuss some of the most pressing economic issues facing our constituencies.
“State treasurers have a critical role to play in safeguarding public funds and promoting overall prosperity. With this year’s symposium falling just after April’s Financial Literacy Month, I specifically look forward to exchanging information regarding programs and policies being implemented to lift the standard of financial literacy and raise awareness around financial tools such as 529 college savings plans.”
Held from May 9-12th at the Minneapolis Marriott City Center, the symposium gives attendees the opportunity to collaborate and determine strategies that improve financial literacy standards, enhance college savings plans and increase public finance programs for infrastructure projects.
“We have a responsibility to help prepare the next generation to make educated, well-informed financial decisions,” continued Oklahoma State Treasurer Miller. “This year’s symposium will give us the opportunity to renew our effort to support financial wellbeing and strengthen the nation’s economy. I look forward to further discussing these issues with my colleagues during the week ahead.”
The multi-track conference includes a variety of sessions that explore ways to improve personal finance, such as “Financial Education, College Savings Accounts and the Wage Gap,” and ways to advance government efficiency, such as “Innovation in Government Payments.” A complete conference agenda can be downloaded here.
TOPEKA – State Sen. Jacob LaTurner will replace Republican Ron Estes as the state treasurer of Kansas.
Gov. Sam Brownback announced the appointment Tuesday morning after Estes sent the governor a letter announcing he would resign on April 25.
“I know Jake to be a fine man, a skilled public servant and a fiercely loyal Kansan,” Brownback said.
LaTurner, a 29-year-old Pittsburg Republican, has served in the Senate since 2013 and was chairman of the Senate’s federal and state affairs committee this year.
The conservative Republican has voted against tax increases and Medicaid expansion this session.
LaTurner lists his occupation on the Kansas Legislature’s website as a small business owner. He said during a press conference Tuesday that he does consulting work that deals with customer service
“The treasurer’s office is an exciting place to be,” LaTurner said.
B.J. Harden, the assistant state treasurer, described the office as “the state’s bank.”
The treasurer’s office also oversees the state’s effort to help people find their unclaimed property money, and administers a college education savings program and other financial services, according to the state’s website.
LaTurner said his intention was to run for a full four-year term in 2018 when the office is on the ballot again.
The governor’s appointment of LaTurner opens a spot in the Kansas Senate as lawmakers prepare to return to Topeka on May 1. The Legislature is facing almost $1 billion in projected budget shortfalls through June of 2019.
By GREG O’DONNELL, INVESTMENT ADVISER | O’Donnell Financial Group
More than $40 billion in unclaimed cash & property waits to be returned. At first glance, that figure seems staggering, unbelievable — and, yet, it is true. To be more exact, the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA), a coalition of state unclaimed property programs, puts the total at $41.7 billion.
How do you find out if some of this money is rightfully yours? First, you can either go to missingmoney.com (a NAUPA website), or the website of your state’s unclaimed property program. A search should let you know the answer. Aside from searching in the state where you currently reside, you can also search for unclaimed assets in states where you previously worked or lived.
In all 50 states, financial institutions and insurers must escheat (i.e., hand over) account assets to the state if the owner has failed to contact the institution or insurer for a year or longer. The onus is then on the state’s unclaimed property department to find the owner, or at least make public that such assets are waiting to be claimed. How long does an original owner or an heir have to claim the forgotten assets? Usually, there is no statute of limitations.
All kinds of assets are held by these state programs — payroll and dividend checks that were never cashed, death benefits from life insurance policies, distributions from trusts and, of course, stock certificates and property that once occupied safe-deposit boxes.
This is just at the state level. More unclaimed money awaits at the federal level; although, no convenient central database exists to find it. (Unclaimed.org, another NAUPA site, is a good place to start.) In March 2016, the Internal Revenue Service announced that this year’s tax deadline is also the deadline for Americans to claim almost $1 billion in federal income tax refunds from the year 2012. (Next April will represent the last chance to claim 2013 refunds.) Beyond what the IRS has, federal coffers contain unredeemed U.S. savings bonds, checking and savings account deposits from failed banks and credit unions, refunds on FHA-insured home loans and unremembered pension money.
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Tax exemptions on municipal bonds are hardly the sexiest political issue surrounding Donald Trump’s transition. But a group of mayors, meeting with the president-elect at Trump Tower on Thursday, were surprised with welcome news when they pressed Trump to keep the exemptions.
“He’s the president-elect, and he said he would keep it,” said Tom Cochran, the CEO and executive director of the U.S. Conference of Mayors. “My lobbyist has been up on the Hill, and they said to us everything is on the table. We didn’t know what would happen.”
He added: “As soon as the sun comes up, I will be contacting the authorities in Speaker Ryan’s office and others on the Democratic side that we were encouraged by the president-elect.”
A spokesman for Trump, who convened the mayors in Trump Tower for about 30 minutes, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Trump has vowed to overhaul the country’s tax code when taking office, and mayors have feared the exemption could be in jeopardy. It has been targeted by some Republicans as too pricey, particularly when the bonds are used to build sports arenas and stadiums.
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The more than $5 billion exodus from municipal-bond funds in November is creating bargains in an often overlooked corner of the tax-exempt debt market.
An index of municipal bonds that are pre-refunded — or paid off as they come due with the proceeds of Treasuries that are held in escrow — yields 1.53 percent, the highest since July 2009. To meet redemptions, mutual-fund mangers are selling the bonds, which are rated AAA because they’re secured by the income from the federal-government debt.
The selloff triggered by Donald Trump’s presidential victory drove state and local-government securities to a 3.46 percent loss in November, the worst month since September 2008, when financial markets seized up after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, according to the S&P Municipal Bond Index.
The Republican’s pledge to cut income taxes and boost spending on infrastructure stoked speculation that the Federal Reserve will need to increase interest rates more aggressively to keep inflation from picking up. Tax cuts could also lessen demand for municipal bonds, whose interest payments are exempt from the federal income tax.
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Finding money you didn’t know you had is like discovering lost treasure. For many people, there’s treasure to be found in old, forgotten bank accounts.
Las Vegas resident Michael Catania was surprised when he plugged his name into MissingMoney.com , a website for unclaimed-property searches, and learned that Massachusetts was holding money for him from a forgotten bank certificate of deposit.
The adjunct music professor had lived in four states over the past decade, including Massachusetts, where he had opened the $1,500 CD that had long since matured.
“I’m embarrassed that I forgot about an account with that much money,” he says, “but I was moving around a lot and the bank didn’t know how to reach me.”
According to the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators, a group of state officers, nearly $42 billion is sitting in state coffers, having come from financial institutions and other businesses with dormant accounts. In addition to old bank accounts, the property often is from unclaimed insurance policies, uncashed paychecks and abandoned safe-deposit boxes.
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Save for college and enjoy some tax breaks too.
Formally known as a qualified tuition program or QTP, a 529 plan is a tax-advantaged way to save money for college. The “529” refers to the section of the IRS tax code that authorized the plans back in 1996.
While you don’t get a federal income-tax deduction for your contributions to the plan, they may be deductible on your state tax return if you invest in the plan run by the state you live in.
What’s more, the earnings on your account will not be taxed by the federal government, or by many states, as long as you use the money to pay qualified educational expenses. Those generally include tuition, mandatory fees, room and board, and required books.
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PORTLAND, Maine — September 30, 2016 — Portland Mayor Ethan Strimling, the Superintendent of Portland Public Schools Xavier Botana, and Ben Gilman, Senior Government Relations Specialist at Maine State Chamber of Commerce joined Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) CEO Bruce Wagner to announce a major statewide effort called Invest in ME 2030. This new effort is intended to have a lasting impact on the economic future of the state of Maine. The announcement was made during an education rally at Portland’s Deering High School with students from the high school, Longfellow Elementary School, and Lincoln Middle School. Supporters in attendance challenged everyone in the state to get involved to reach the goal. Prior to the announcements at Deering High School, students participated in financial education activities designed to help them think about their future and what education will be needed to pursue their career and life goals.
Wagner announced FAME’s Invest in ME goal: By 2030, all Maine families are saving for higher education and Maine will have one of the lowest average student loan debt rates in the nation.
Helping Maine’s 256,000+1 children actively save for higher education would help alleviate their need to borrow more later. About 64 percent of Maine college students graduate with debt and the average student loan debt per student in Maine is $30,908, putting Maine 7th highest2 in that regard when compared to other states.
“Today we want to draw statewide attention to the economic impact an under-educated workforce and growing student debt are having on our state and stress the importance of starting to save for college or any form of postsecondary education early,” said Ben
Gilman. “We chose Stevens Avenue in Portland to announce this major statewide goal because it’s a unique street in our state and in America—where a child’s entire educational journey can be traveled over the course of a few blocks. On this one street, you can stroll from an early childhood center, past an elementary school, a middle school, a couple of high schools, a college, and a graduate school campus.”
Gilman continued: “We are asking all of Maine’s political leaders, business leaders, community leaders, parents, grandparents, and educators to help us reach our goal. There will be something everyone can do to support the future faces of Maine and the future of our state.”
“We know that children with savings are six times more likely to pursue higher education.3 Building college aspirations, increasing completion of postsecondary education, and making it possible for more children to go to college or trade school by increasing college savings and lowering student debt can play a significant role in boosting Maine’s overall economy,” Gilman concluded.
Maine’s Workforce—Growing Need for Skilled Workers
Currently, many Maine employers face significant challenges filling open positions that require higher education qualifications. The state faces a shortfall of skilled workers. FAME is working with statewide governmental and non-governmental agencies, employers, and educators on a workforce development coalition. They are seeking to increase the number of Maine workers who have some type of postsecondary certificate or degree. The reasons why these efforts are critically important include:
* If Maine were to grow 65,000 more jobs, 60% of the workforce would need education beyond high school to meet future workforce demands.4 Only 54 out of 100 students in Maine will go to college and only 39 will graduate within 6 years.5
* College savings increase college aspirations AND completion; low and moderate income families with children are 3 times more likely to attend college and 4 times more likely to graduate from college if they have college savings between $1- $499.6
* Economic growth depends on a highly educated workforce, and instilling aspirations to higher education begins at an early age.
* Student debt limits graduates’ job choice and their ability to launch a new business, buy a home, start a family, and save for retirement.7
“The best way to attain an educated workforce to meet the changing labor and economic needs in our state is to invest in education beyond high school and make it
available and affordable for more of our youth,” said Bruce Wagner, CEO of FAME. “We want to encourage everyone in Maine to take part in the “Invest in ME 2030” movement and help Maine reach this goal. It will take all of us to make a significant impact. To get involved, visit InvestinME2030.com to find action items that Maine people can deploy to make progress throughout the state. FAME will also be hitting the road to engage businesses, organizations, and families to inspire each of us to invest in the future faces of Maine.”
Scholarship Sweepstakes Announced—16 $1000 Scholarship Prizes for Mainers
During the event, to spark statewide awareness with Maine families about savings for higher education and reducing debt, FAME Director of Education Martha Johnston announced that on October 1, 2016, FAME is launching the Invest In ME Sweepstakes. The sweepstakes will award $1,000 scholarship prizes to 16 NextGen accounts, selecting one random winner from each of Maine’s counties. Participation in the sweepstakes does not require an existing NextGen account and no purchase is necessary to enter.* FAME invites everyone to visit NextGenForME.com for details about the sweepstakes and how to enter.
*An account will be required to be opened in order to receive the prize.
New Student Loan Resource Unveiled
In an effort to help Maine residents who pursue higher education not to be saddled with debt, FAME, along with its network of local Maine lenders, recently unveiled an online resource: TheLoanforME.com. Designed to be the ultimate student loan resource for Maine, the website helps families become informed borrowers, especially when they need to close the gap between the cost of higher education and what they have saved and might obtain through financial aid, grants, or scholarships. The online resource also offers help to Maine residents who want to refinance or consolidate existing student debt.
“We’ve been helping Maine families for decades be better informed about borrowing and finding affordable solutions to help reduce student loan borrowing up front,” said Johnston. “The Loan For ME can also help people with existing student loan debt explore ways to lower monthly payments and have more dollars to build their lives.”
NextGen is a Section 529 plan administered by the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). Before you invest in NextGen, request a NextGen Program Description from your Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor or Maine Distribution Agent or call Merrill Edge at 1-877-4-NEXTGEN (877-463-9843) and read it carefully. The Program Description contains more complete information, including investment objectives, charges, expenses and risks of investing in NextGen, which you should carefully consider before investing. You also should consider whether your or your designated beneficiary’s home state offers any state tax or other benefits that are only available for investments in such state’s
Section 529 plan. Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, a registered broker-dealer, member SIPC, is the program manager and underwriter.
About the Finance Authority of Maine
FAME is a quasi-independent state agency that expands business and educational opportunities to help Maine people and businesses succeed. FAME helps to lead the creation of good paying jobs by working at the nexus between economic development and workforce development.
To learn more about FAME, please visit FAMEmaine.com
About the Maine State Chamber of Commerce
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce advocates on behalf of its 5,000 member companies before the Legislature and the state’s regulatory agencies and through educational and networking events to ensure that the state’s business environment continues to thrive by lowering the cost of doing business in Maine. Its advocacy efforts focus on seven central themes: tax reform, health care, workers’ compensation, economic development, environmental, education, and government spending/budget.