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Letter to the editor: Treasurer’s office performs vital duties

As treasurer for North Dakota, I am once again blessed to inform and educate the voters and readers of the duties of the treasurer’s office. It’s a well-known fact Sen. Tim Mathern was my opponent in the 2016 campaign and throughout his campaign, his message was to eliminate the office. Now he is claiming the entire duties or functions of the Office of State Treasurer should be eliminated and no duties transferred to another agency. That statement disappoints me and it should disappoint you, the owners of the “people’s money.”

If the duties of treasurer are not performed as Mathern stated, what are the true consequences of these actions? The Tax Department would continue to collect revenue from sales tax, oil and gas tax, etc. That money would just sit there, and I mean sit there. The Tax Department collects the revenue, and the treasurer’s office disperses it. We refer to that as the checks and balances as mandated by the North Dakota Constitution. Imagine if no dollars were dispersed back to our cities, counties or schools? Imagine if you did not get your income tax refund? Imagine if state employees did not get paid, because the money is just sitting there. Imagine child support payments never being received.

Now, imagine this: All the revenue that is collected just sits there and it is not invested. The treasurer has the fiduciary responsibility to invest dollars from the general fund, which is the checkbook for the state and to ensure dollars are invested in a timely and efficient manner. It’s the treasurer’s responsibility to provide fiscal oversight to ensure the bills are always paid and the general fund is earning interest through our investments with the Bank of North Dakota. Since I have been treasurer, I have seen the general fund at $750 million to as high as $4.5 billion. With sound financial oversight and wise planning, investments of the general fund have generated millions in revenue. Now, imagine if the functions of the Office of State Treasurer were no longer necessary as stated by a longtime legislator.

How very disappointing it is that this person has never stepped foot into the Office of State Treasurer to do research or spoken to a staff member, and it is highly unlikely he has looked online at treasurer to see cash distributions to political subdivisions.

I believe the people of North Dakota wish to retain the Office of the State Treasurer and the checks and balances this agency provides because voters and readers understand the value a treasurer brings to any organization, including your church, your local PTO and your state. It is by all means, the “people’s money.”