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Thought Leadership Thursday

Help Us Grow the State Debt Management Network

Thought Leadership Thursday Article

Help Us Grow the State Debt Management Network
February 27, 2020
Dave Erdman
Capital Finance Director
State of Washington

This year I have the honor of serving as the chair of the State Debt Management Network (SDMN). We’re one of three networks in the NAST family and a collection of public finance professionals who share the same unique passion and dedication for all things involving municipal bonds and state debt. SDMN’s mission is to lead, educate, and advocate efficient and responsible state debt management essential to meeting states’ financing needs.

More specifically, in addition to being a core responsibility of many NAST members, bond issuance is the backbone of state infrastructure finance. You would be hard-pressed to find a bridge, road, school, watermain or public hospital that didn’t have some sort of connection to an underlying municipal bond. Put simply — bonds (and savings from successful bond refundings) have built, are building and will continue to build America.

No two SDMN members are the same. But— we all commit ourselves to the same goals, serving as the best stewards of our state’s credit and securing the best financing for capital and other needs. More importantly, we all face the same opportunities and challenges in today’s rapidly changing markets and regulatory environments.  Furthermore, our authoritative voices and expert opinions are not only welcomed in Washington, they are actively sought.

In 2020, SDMN continues to execute its strategic plan from 2018 (being the go-to authority on the professional management of state-level debt) and continues to commit itself to a stronger future. To accomplish this target for 2020, SDMN is pushing the following initiatives.

First: Expanding Membership Across States
We are committing ourselves to having members in every state that issues debt. Our conference calls regularly share and discuss invaluable information and updates on tax and securities policy. No state should be left out of the loop.

Second: Reaching Deeper into States that Are Already Involved
Last year, we changed our dues structure so that once a state has joined, all employees involved with the debt management activities of the state may get engaged with SDMN. This year, we are working to ensure everyone in your office (and in other related state agencies) are in the loop. If you have staff that should be receiving our updates, please reach out to Brian Egan.

Third: Increasing our Engagement and Network Opportunities
In 2020, we have already held and plan to continue holding more regular network-wide calls and additional networking opportunities for our members. We will also have three committees to provide further engagement opportunities and to make us nimbler as a network: Advocacy; Membership; and Programming and Learning.

Four: Breaking Down Our Silos
Finally, we plan to increase collaboration with our partners. Whether that means working across other NAST Networks and Committees or with external partners like the Public Finance Network, we understand the strength in numbers if we want to achieve our goals like restoring advance refunding bonds.

In conclusion, I hope you share my excitement for the future of SDMN. I invite you to get engaged or share this message with all debt management staff of your state so they can get involved. Join a network or training call/opportunity, sit in on one of our sessions at the Treasury Management Training Symposium (TMTS), or just ask to join our listserv. I’m looking forward to a productive and successful year ahead of us. Please contact either Brian Egan or myself to join the unique passion and dedication for all things involving municipal bonds and state debt!

David Erdman
Capital Finance Director
Department of Administration
Division of Executive Budget and Finance
State of Wisconsin

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