By Treasurer David McRae
Wow, it was a hot one at the 133rd Neshoba County Fair this week, but as always — the hospitality couldn’t be beat. My wife, Katie, and I enjoyed catching up with many old friends and making new ones as well. I used my ten minutes on stage at Founders’ Square to provide an update on our work at your State Treasury, where we focus on three primary responsibilities: managing cash flow, returning unclaimed money to the rightful owners, and helping Mississippians save for college.
When it comes to managing cash flow, the state is doing great. Mississippi has topped $100 million in investment gains since January 2020. We have maintained – and even improved – the state’s strong, double-A credit ratings despite these uncertain times. What’s more, we are outperforming many states that have even stronger credit ratings than ours, such as Texas. And we have saved taxpayers tens of millions through refinancing bond debt at lower interest rates. What’s more, we locked in those ultra-low interest rates and insulated taxpayers from the Fed’s latest rate hikes.
Just as importantly, I came to the Treasury committed to improving customer service and getting more unclaimed money out of government hands and back into the hands of local people and communities. We’ve returned $55 million in unclaimed money to Mississippi households, businesses, agencies, and non-profits so far, breaking records for the amount returned two years running. That’s a massive economic stimulus that didn’t cost taxpayers a penny.
How did we do it? We made claiming your money easier than ever, allowing you to file claims online without worrying about a visit to a notary and the Post Office. We also tripled our pace in returning your money – from $100,000 a week to $300,000 a week.
Finally, most of us have children or grandchildren who are planning to attend college. The Treasury offers plans that allow families to save little bits of money at a time or prepay for college altogether. To me, this is the conservative approach to paying for college. We aren’t asking the government to foot the bill; we’re asking individuals to take personal responsibility and plan for the expense. And thanks to wise investing and improved returns, the original Legacy college savings plan is now on sound financial footing.
In short, all of our work at Treasury is focused around three foundational principles:
First, we are working to be more customer friendly. We’re modernizing systems, streamlining processes, and moving services online. And we’re being proactive about the way we reach out to Mississippians. The government works for you – not the other way around.
Second, we work to conserve your tax dollars. Whether it’s protecting our credit rating, growing our investment assets, or returning your unclaimed money, the bottom line is top of mind.
And finally, we aim to empower people, not government. That means getting unclaimed money out of the government’s hands and into your hands. It means giving families more options to save for college, without just shifting that cost to taxpayers.
If we can help you with unclaimed money, college savings, or anything else, please visit us online at Treasury.MS.gov or call (601) 359-3600.