WASHINGTON, D.C. (TK) –The College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) announced its support of H.R. 4508, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success and Prosperity through Education Reform (PROSPER) Act. The bill, recently introduced by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), aims to make post-secondary education more affordable for families across America.
The Act will exclude 529 college savings plans from counting as assets when calculating student need in order to encourage families to save for higher education.
Treasurer Young Boozer, Chair of the College Savings Plans Network—the nation’s leading objective source of information on Section 529 College Savings Plans and Prepaid Tuition Plans—issued the following statement on the introduction of this critical piece of legislation:
As a result of rising costs of college tuition, Americans have accumulated an excess of over $1.3 trillion in student debt over the past 40 years. The way to offset or avoid student debt is by saving early and often in a 529 plan. We must encourage savings for college expenses. We should not discourage savings by penalizing those who do save when it comes to determining other support available. For this reason, we are proud to support the PROSPER Act, legislation that will enhance the treatment of 529 plans in the determination of federal financial aid. We thank Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) and Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY), in moving it forward and for continuing Congress’ tradition of improving savings opportunities for post-secondary education through 529 college savings plans.”
Young Boozer, Alabama State Treasurer and Chair of the College Savings Plans Network has this to say.
“CSPN has been following the conversation in the Senate about the tax bill passed Saturday morning. We are interested in the expansion of eligible education expenses in 529 plans to include up to $10,000 in annual K-12 expenses and look forward to working with Congress on implementing these changes with respect to 529 plans. This will provide added flexibility to families looking to save money to pay for the education needs of their loved ones and we appreciate Congress’ interest in enhancing 529 plans. Additionally, on Friday December 1, the House introduced the PROSPER ACT, which would exclude 529 plans from the calculation of federal financial aid. We believe this is a critical step in making 529 plans the best way to save for post-secondary education and appreciate Congress beginning the process of removing this hurdle to families saving for their children’s future.”
OKLAHOMA CITY – State Treasurer Ken Miller, board chairman of the Oklahoma 529 College Savings Plan (OCSP), is encouraging gift-giving Oklahomans with young children or grandchildren to consider the gift of education this year by opening an OCSP account for their loved ones, a news release states.
To make such a gift even more attractive, OCSP is offering a special bonus promotion this year in conjunction with Cyber Monday. New accounts opened from Nov. 25-29 at the special promotional page www.ok4saving.org/give will be eligible for a bonus contribution of $25 from the OCSP. In addition, those who open a new account and also opt to begin an automatic contribution plan will be eligible for another $25 bonus contribution from OCSP, for a total of $50.
Miller noted that only 24.6 percent of Oklahomans had a four-year degree in 2015, compared to the national average of 30.6 percent, according to statistics from the nonprofit Prosperity Now.
College graduates have greater job opportunities and earn substantially more over their lifetimes,” Miller said. “Yet many consistently underestimate how much they’ll need to save to pay for college. Making a plan and committing to even small contributions over time can save college graduates from piles of student loan debt. This is a great chance to get a head-start on saving.”
Parents, grandparents, relatives or friends who are U.S. citizens or permanent residents and at least 18 years old may open an OCSP account on behalf of a beneficiary, and the minimum initial contribution is $100. Once an account is open, anyone can contribute, making the OCSP a great gift idea for all family and friends.
At the OCSP website, www.ok4saving.org, the state’s 529 college savings plan provides gift-givers with an e-gifting option where contributions can be made to an OCSP account online, and “Gift of Education” certificates can be created to show the contribution to a loved one’s account.
Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility (VBSR) will recognize Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce at a legislative breakfast next week for her work to establish a public retirement system, clean up Vermont’s waterways, and to address the impacts of climate change through state investments.
Pearce will receive the ‘Public Servant of the Year’ award at VBSR’s Legislative Breakfast on the morning of Wednesday, December 6 at Main Street Landing in Burlington. VBSR will also announce its 2018 legislative agenda at the event. Tickets are free for organization members and legislators, and nonmembers and the general public is welcome to attend as well.
“Treasurer Pearce sets a high standard for public service in Vermont,” said Jane Campbell, VBSR’s executive director. “She approaches her work thoughtfully and collaboratively, and honoring the Treasurer for her work on issues such as creating a clean water economy and helping Vermonters save for retirement made this an easy decision for VBSR.”
Pearce, a Democrat, is now serving her fourth term as Treasurer after being appointed to the position in 2011. She has more than 40 years of experience in government finance at both the state and local levels.
“The successes of the Treasurer’s Office are due to the collaborative partnerships we’ve forged by bringing stakeholders to the table,” said Treasurer Pearce. “Whether on issues concerning the environment and the health of our waterways, investing dollars and buying locally, or expanding retirement security, Vermont succeeds when we work together to achieve common goals.”
A Barre resident, Treasurer Pearce is the incoming President of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST). She serves as the Secretary of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT). She is the Past President of the National Association of Unclaimed Property Administrators (NAUPA)….
PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit has been nominated by President Donald Trump to be the chief financial officer at NASA.
If confirmed by the Senate, DeWit said he would resign his statewide elected office, although that could be months from now.
“By the time I get through the Senate confirmation it could be near the very end of my term anyway,’ he said Thursday. “So it’s really good timing.
“I’ve been offered many positions before this but I wanted to wait until at least I’m in the last year of my term, which this basically is now,” DeWit said.
DeWit served as chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Trump’s presidential campaign last year and has a close relationship with the president.
DeWit is a first-term Republican and state law requires that the replacement appointed by Republican Gov. Doug Ducey be of the same party. Ducey said he hasn’t yet given much thought to whom he might pick to succeed DeWit.
DeWit previously said he would not run for a second term as treasurer. Announced candidates for the Republican nomination include state Sen. Kimberly Yee and Tom Forese, an Arizona Corporation Commission member who won the seat in 2014 after serving in the Legislature. DeWit has endorsed Yee but has a fractious relationship with Ducey.
DeWit said he would prefer that a career treasurer employee be named to head the department that oversees state finances until after next year’s election.
“We have some people running for that office right now, and I don’t think it would be fair to appoint somebody that’s running for the office,” he said. “I think that’s kind of putting a thumb on a scale.”
DeWit had been considering running for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Republican Jeff Flake, who decided last month not to seek re-election after polling showed his criticism of Trump and a changing Republican Party base made his race unwinnable.
As NASA CFO, DeWit would oversee the space agency’s nearly $20 billion budget. Before running for state treasurer as a political newcomer in 2014, he was CEO of an investment company he founded and worked in financial futures trading. He is married and has three school-age daughters.
He said it is likely the family would need to relocate to Washington, where NASA headquarters is located.
“There’s a lot of exciting things coming for NASA and for our country through that agency,” he said, “and if I can be a part of helping that process I think that’s a good way to serve the country.”
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….
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) today announced it has appointed Shaun Snyder as executive director. Snyder will join the 41-year-old association on October 16, 2017.
NAST President and Oklahoma State Treasurer Ken Miller said, “After a nationwide search, I am pleased to welcome Shaun to our bipartisan association. His strong leadership abilities and proven track record will serve NAST well as we continue to expand our impact to better serve our citizens.”
The NAST Executive Committee chose Snyder following an intensive nationwide search. His job responsibilities will include managing and overseeing all association activities, including membership services, government affairs, corporate partnerships, media outreach and conference planning. He will also direct the staff, operations, and initiatives at the association.
“State treasurers are on the frontline of solving some of our country’s toughest fiscal challenges—from financing much needed infrastructure projects to helping individuals save for the rising cost of college or retirement,” said Snyder. “NAST plays a crucial role in helping state treasurers address these issues by developing best practices and promoting sound fiscal policies, so I look forward to joining this bipartisan association to build on this goal.”
Currently, Snyder serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the American Psychiatric Association, where he is responsible for working with each of the organization’s departments to ensure the association meets strategic objectives in an efficient and effective manner. Prior to joining the American Psychiatric Association, Snyder served in the same role for the Department of Health of the District of Columbia, and has served as Special Assistant to the General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Snyder was born in California and spent his childhood in a number of states, including California, Wisconsin, Massachusetts, and Maryland. He received his undergraduate degree in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland, his law degree from the Georgetown University Law Center, and his MBA from The George Washington University. He is licensed to practice law in Maryland and the District of Columbia.
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…
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.
Story Excerpt: The National Association of State Treasurers recently outlined some legislative priorities that would broaden ABLE accounts’ reach..