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State Treasurer discusses office’s recent successes

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DEWAYNE HOLLOWAY

montcnews2@windstream.net

MOUNT IDA – Arkansas Treasurer Dennis Milligan is pleased with the results a more active approach he and his staff have brought to the Office of the Treasury have yielded for Arkansas.

Milligan took a few minutes out of his schedule to stop by the Montgomery County News office last Thursday. He was on his way home after a speaking engagement in Mena.

Milligan, a life long Arkansan and small business owner, has approached the state treasurer’s office with aggressive mindset. He stated that previous state treasurers had taken a passive approach to the office, but he wanted to take a more active approach.

As Treasurer he in effect serves as the state’s banker and is responsible for an investment portfolio of approximately $3.8 billion. Milligan is proud to report that his office has hit a milestone in investment receipts. They recently topped the $100 million in money receipted back to the state from its investment portfolio.

While many governmental offices are downsizing, Milligan chose to optimize the output of those in his office. He stated that as a small business owner he had learned the key to success is to find the right people for the right job.

As a result his office reported receipted amounts of $12 million during the first half of fiscal year 2015. His office also receipted $48.9 million in fiscal year 2016 and has reported receipts of $39.4 million as of the third quarter of this fiscal year.

Milligan explained his reasoning behind an active investment strategy. “Every dollar in return we earn is a dollar you don’t have to pay in taxes.”

The State Treasury earned $1.7 million more in the third quarter of fiscal year 2017 than it did during the same time frame last year. He was proud to report that his team has grown the state’s investment portfolio receipts to their highest level in nearly a decade.

His office also continues to negotiate more favorable rates on their demand accounts while positioning the short term portfolio in an effort to earn the best returns for the state.

He is pleased that his efforts have helped facilitate much needed infrastructure improvements in the state. The increase in the treasury has allowed Governor Asa Hutchinson to move forward with his highway expansion plan without raising taxes to fund it.

The Office of the Treasury is one of the most accessible in the United States and is one of the most popular destinations at the State Capitol Building.

Visitors can visit the vault and get their picture taken with half a million dollars. The vault door is still the original door. Milligan stated that the door was a work of art and a centerpiece of the office.

Milligan also discussed the Arkansas 529 GIFT Plan and how Arkansans can benefit from the program.

The Arkansas 529 GIFT Plan is sponsored by the State of Arkansas. Through it your savings can grow tax-deferred through a wide variety of Vanguard investment options. Later, the money can be withdrawn tax-free to pay for qualified higher education costs like tuition, room and board, and supplies at nearly any two- or four-year college, university, vocational, or trade school.

Milligan stated that he understands a four year college education path may not be for everyone and is excited that this program allows families to save money for two year vocational programs and trade schools.

Through the program families can amass up to a $10,000 tax deduction per year through money invested in the program. The program is customizable for each individual.

His office recently announced a reduction in fees due to an overall growth in the Arkansas 529 GIFT Plan. In all the plan has seen an overall growth of $130 million in total assets since Milligan became Treasurer.

“I see this as a win – win for everybody.” Milligan stated.

Milligan stated that he is honored to serve the people of Arkansas as Treasurer and takes the job seriously. He acknowledges the position is an elected position and carries a certain political element with it, but at the end of the day he works for the people of Arkansas.

For more information regarding the Office of the Treasury, or any of their programs check out their website at artreasury.gov, call their office at (501) 682-5888, or email them at info@artreasury.gov.

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