For Immediate Release
February 23, 2016
PA Treasurer Reese Highlights Department’s Accomplishments during Budget Hearings
Investments, pre-audit reviews and unclaimed property generate hundreds of millions in revenue for the Commonwealth
Harrisburg – During Appropriation Committee hearings in both the Pennsylvania House and Senate today, State Treasurer Timothy Reese highlighted the department’s key accomplishments during the past year, discussed operational challenges associated with the budget impasse, and described key initiatives the department is launching.
“As an independent office that serves as steward of the state’s financial assets, Treasury plays an important, if often unrecognized, role in the lives of every citizen. We are responsible for paying the state’s bills, and safeguarding and investing the state’s funds, which total more than $100 billion."
Timothy A. Reese, State Treasurer
During his testimony, Reese pointed to several of Treasury’s achievements including:
- During the last fiscal year Treasury processed 21 million payments worth nearly $87 billion. Importantly, Treasury’s pre-audit review prevented nearly $29 million of erroneous payments.
- The Pennsylvania 529 College Savings Program, which is administered by Treasury, ended 2015 with $3.6 billion in assets – the highest year-end amount in the program’s history. Importantly, the actuarial status of the Guaranteed Savings Plan is 111 percent funded with an actuarial reserve of $173.9 million.
- The Bureau of Unclaimed Property collected a record $670 million and returned $120 million in property to its rightful owners. The net benefit to the General Fund was about $550 million.
- Despite the turbulent financial markets, Treasury continued to experience positive growth in investments across the primary pools of money it manages – gaining more than $80 million in the last calendar year. At the same time, Treasury reduced investment expenses by over $2 million.
Reese also said that Treasury’s priority has been to act transparently and rely on legal precedent and fiscal prudence to guide the department during the budget impasse and subsequent implementation of the FY 2015-2106 budget.
“While Treasury had no role in creating the recent budget impasse, and no ability to end it, the lack of clear statutory spending authority and post-budget enactment issues have created uncertainty for Treasury on a number of issues,” said Reese. “I take these issues very seriously. My decisions have been consistent with my fiduciary obligation to the citizens of the Commonwealth to act in their best interest and to protect the finances of the Commonwealth from avoidable risk and peril.”
Under Reese’s leadership, Treasury is also launching two new initiatives. The first is the Small Business Initiative whose purpose it is to increase the state’s financial assets by empowering Pennsylvania-based small businesses to grow their revenues and hire employees.
“Treasury is teaming with leading corporations and universities to hold a series of meetings across the state to provide small businesses with the knowledge and connections they need to grow. As stewards of Pennsylvania’s financial assets, Treasury’s responsibility is to maximize a return on investment. Since small business is a key driver of job creation and economic growth in our state, by helping them do well we help all of Pennsylvania do well,” Reese said.
The department also created Treasury University – a series of internal training courses that seeks to institutionalize Treasury’s processes and best practices. With nearly 15 percent of employees at or approaching retirement age within the next five years, Treasury faces the possibility of losing many of its senior leaders within the next five years.
Media contact: Scott Sloat, 717.787.4098 or email@example.com
Note: Attached is the full version of Treasurer Reese’s testimony. For more information, visit www.patreasury.gov.
The Pennsylvania Treasury is an independent department of state government led by the state treasurer, who is elected every four years. The department's primary duty is to safeguard and manage the state's public funds. It invests state money to generate income on behalf of the citizens of Pennsylvania, reviews and processes payments for state government agencies, and serves as custodian of more than $100 billion in state funds. Key Treasury programs include Unclaimed Property, PA 529 College Savings Program and the Board of Finance and Revenue.
To learn more visit patreasury.gov.