Ask any Pennsylvanian what the Treasury Department does and, chances are, the answer will be: “Well, since it’s called ‘Treasury,’ the department must be responsible for keeping track of the state’s money.” While simplistic, those few words go straight to the heart of the department’s paramount duty: to safeguard the Commonwealth’s financial assets – more than $120 billion of public funds.
The INVEST program helps local governments and nonprofits invest their money with flexibility, security, and confidence. INVEST uses Treasury’s professional investment expertise, minus the high costs of other investment programs. With less money spent on management fees, more money is spent on Pennsylvania’s communities.
And Treasury’s Unclaimed Property Bureau works to reunite over $1.5 billion in lost, forgotten and abandoned property with its rightful owners. Last year alone, Treasury returned more than $83 million in unclaimed property to approximately 57,000 owners.
Treasury is also responsible for:
Conducting investigations of loss, theft, or fraud involving Commonwealth checks.
Reviewing and approving real estate leases and sole source contracts entered into by Commonwealth agencies before such leases and contracts can become effective.
Housing the Pennsylvania Contracts e-Library. In response to the new Right-to-Know Law signed by Governor Rendell on February 14, 2008, Treasury is required to make available certain government contract information for public inspection by posting it on a publicly accessible Web site.
The department’s reach also extends to the many state boards on which the Treasurer serves. For example, as the chairperson of the Board of Finance and Revenue, the Treasurer directs the selection of the banks where state funds are deposited and sets the interest rates paid on them. The Treasurer also serves on boards that oversee state pension funds and has a voice in how these funds are managed and invested. Other board-related activities allow the Treasurer to help provide Pennsylvania schools with tax-exempt financing for modernization, make grants to distressed communities, and finance the purchase of rental housing for residents in need.