Often times in presidential election years down ballot races get overlooked. But in the age of state budget shortfalls, underfunded pension liabilities, and other financial issues the election of a State Treasurer is one of the most important races to follow.
The State Financial Officers Foundation (SFOF) recently commissioned a national Google Consumer Survey asking Americans, “Who do you believe is the most trustworthy source of information about state financial matters and public funds?”
The results showed an overwhelming majority trusting State Treasurers over Governors and legislators when it comes to financial matters with their respective states. 66.9 percent of those surveyed said they trust the State Treasurer when it comes to state financial matters while only 18.2 percent said they trusted their Governor. Only 14.9 percent of those surveyed said they trusted their legislator regarding state financial matters. The online survey taken between May 17 and May 19, 2016 had 761 responses from a national adult internet population.
“Americans have made it clear that on state fiscal matters the people trust their state treasurer more than any other state elected office,” said Derek Kreifels, President of the State Financial Officers Foundation. This puts State Treasurers in a unique position to have a major impact on public policy.
“When a state treasurer talks – the people listen,” said Kreifels.
State Treasurers are acting as financial watch dogs holding governors and legislators accountable to how public funds are being managed and spent. Some have even been referred to as their state’s “fiscal hawk.”
“In addition to serving as the states’ Chief Financial Officer, State Treasurers from coast to coast are becoming an implementation strategy for many who desire to impact financial public policy. Many of them sit on boards of public pension funds, various investment funds, administer unclaimed property and 529 college savings programs,” said Kreifels.
The SFOF’s motto encourages its supporters to “look to the states.” With continuous gridlock in the halls of congress in Washington, D.C., never has a time in history been as important to pay extra close attention to these races for state treasurer.
“State Treasurers and other elected financial officers are in the trenches evaluating their state’s fiscal health on a daily basis. The issues that they deal with are typically pretty cut and dry. There’s no gray when it comes to public finance,” said Kreifels.
State Treasurers are up for election this November in nine states. Those states include Missouri, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.