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Treasurer Fitzpatrick Celebrates First Year in Office

Tuesday, January 14, 2020
Treasurer's name

Jefferson City, MO – Missouri State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick today celebrated his first year in office. Since his swearing-in, Treasurer Fitzpatrick has focused on protecting state finances, investing in Missourians, returning unclaimed property, and helping Missouri families save for the future.

 

“I believe the government should work for the people, Missouri families should be able to thrive, and our tax dollars should be spent wisely. My work in the Treasurer’s Office over the past year reflects these goals,” Treasurer Fitzpatrick said. “I am proud of the work we’ve accomplished this year—and I look forward to growing Missouri’s investment portfolio, giving careful consideration to who and what we are investing in, working to expand access to valuable programs like MO ABLE and MOST, investing in Missouri farms and businesses through programs like Missouri FIRST, and breaking more unclaimed property records in the coming year.”

 

“Scott has a proven record as a good steward of Missouri tax dollars.” Governor Mike Parson said. “His work over the past year demonstrates his commitment to growing Missouri’s economy, supporting Missourians and their families, and moving our state forward. We’re proud of his work and look forward to what’s ahead.”

 

PROTECTING STATE FINANCES

 

                As the state’s Chief Financial Officer, Treasurer Fitzpatrick was actively engaged in the management of state funds. This prudent management, along with a strong economy, helped boost investment earnings for the state, earning Missouri approximately $83.4 million. Missouri continues to maintain its AAA bond rating (the highest rating issued by Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, and Fitch Ratings).

 

INVESTING IN MISSOURIANS

 

Less than two months after taking office, Treasurer Fitzpatrick enacted important reforms to Missouri FIRST, the state’s linked deposit program, ensuring the long-term viability of the program and allowing Missouri small business owners and farmers continued access to its benefits. The rapid growth of the program over the previous year left the program close to its statutory cap, necessitating this action. The reforms prioritized providing capital to Missouri businesses for projects that will grow their presence in Missouri through the addition of equipment, facilities and employees. Linked deposits allow the state to partner with Missouri financial institutions to provide low-interest loans to small businesses and farmers.

 

In July, following widespread flooding and storm damage across Missouri, Treasurer Fitzpatrick launched LIFT which used linked deposits to provide low-interest loans to small businesses and farms economically impacted by natural disasters. This program has placed nearly $3.5 million in linked deposits for recovering businesses and farms.

 

                Finally, Treasurer Fitzpatrick is working to place more of the state’s investment portfolio into the Missouri economy by bringing back time deposits which place money in Missouri banks. Time deposits invest in Missouri’s economy by placing portions of the state’s investment portfolio in Missouri banks in return for interest earned while providing capital for the bank. By pursuing competitive bidding for these deposits, Treasurer Fitzpatrick has ensured Missouri is maximizing its return while investing in Missouri banks.

 

RETURNING YOUR MONEY

 

                A reflection of Treasurer’s Fitzpatrick’s dedication to returning money to Missourians, the Unclaimed Property Division broke two records this year—returning the first $1 million of his administration in just nine days (including a state holiday), and returning over $45 million for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2019. In 2019, the Office returned $42.7 million in unclaimed property.  

 

In July, Treasurer Fitzpatrick and the Department of Social Services announced a new automated system that matches past-due child support cases with the unclaimed property database. The electronic system pays unpaid child support and eliminates the manual paperwork between agencies, increasing efficiency and timeliness. In its first six months, the new system paid nearly $3 million in unpaid child support, closing over 53,000 unclaimed property accounts, compared to just over $280,000 for all of FY18.

 

In November, Treasurer Fitzpatrick partnered with military institutions across the state to display booklets and banners encouraging Missourians to help return unclaimed military medals to the heroes who earned them. Partners include the National WWI Museum and Memorial in St. Louis, Soldiers Memorial in St. Louis, the Museum of Missouri Military History, and the Missouri Veterans Commission.

 

Treasurer Fitzpatrick is also working with Missouri’s congressional delegation to encourage passage of legislation that would empower states to act on behalf of the U.S. Treasury Department to find owners of matured unredeemed U.S. savings bonds. Approximately $26 billion in savings bonds have reached final maturity—of which $438 million belongs to Missourians. Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley are co-sponsors of S.2417 while Representative Jason Smith is a co-sponsor of HR 5269.

 

HELPING MISSOURIANS SAVE FOR THE FUTURE

 

                Treasurer Fitzpatrick has made growing MO ABLE a priority. Since taking office, MO ABLE has grown by over 44%. It is now one of the largest programs in the nation. In April, the program passed the 1,000 account threshold. Additionally, Treasurer Fitzpatrick worked with partner state Ohio to develop a program that enables staffers to contact program participants whose accounts are nearly dormant due to inactivity. This pilot program has saved more than 40 accounts.

 

Encouraging Missouri businesses to add payroll deductions for MO ABLE accounts to their benefits packages is another major priority for the office. Currently Cox Health, the largest employer in southwest Missouri, and Truman State University have established payroll deductions for MO ABLE. Several other Missouri employers are working to implement this process. Payroll deductions make it easier for individuals with disabilities or parents of children with disabilities to save for the future.

 

Treasurer Fitzpatrick is also working with Missouri’s congressional delegation to encourage support for the ABLE Age Adjustment Act which will expand program eligibility to those who acquired a disability before the age of 46, including veterans injured in the line of duty. Currently, participants must have acquired a disability prior to age 26. Representatives Blaine Luetkemeyer and Vicky Hartzler are co-sponsors of HR 1814.

 

As MOST, Missouri’s 529 Education Plan, celebrated its 20th anniversary this year, Treasurer Fitzpatrick made spreading the word about the importance of saving for education and the valuable tax benefits of the program a priority. In August, he completed a “Back to School” Tour encouraging Missouri families to use the program. This year, the program added 14,714 accounts, with assets under management growing nearly 18%. MOST remains a top program nationally.

 

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