The mission of the Treasury is to provide sound financial oversight and the absolute safety of all public funds at no cost to the tax payers. Currently we are not truly fulfilling the full potential of that mission. The state currently deposits billions of dollars each year of into a multi-national bank, which in turn pays us a measley 1.3% interest. The banks take these billions in tax revenues and lend them out of state, investing them in speculative trading strategies (including deriative bets against the state's own bonds) and don't remit any of their earnings back to the state Treasury. They have enormous marketing over head and pay incredible salaries to CEO's and dividends to shareholders.
Wisconsin needs a citizen owned state bank with a mission to serve the public instead of Wall Street investors. It's a mechanism to generate interest revenues which are given back to communities in the form of loans, grants, and direct student loans at excellent interest rates. A citizen's bank doesn't compete with small local banks, instead it partners with them to make affordable loans to small businesses. And with the interest collected the bank will make Wisconsinites money instead of costing us.
To learn more about the State Bank of North Dakota and how it could work in Wisconsin, click here.
As Treasurer, I would work with legislators and regulators to champion a people's bank of Wisconsin.
Protect our Public Lands
Since Scott Walker took power the Treasurer's office has been systematically gutted of most of it's duties, which have been parceled out to other administrative departments. Why would he do that? There's an old saying, "If you want to know why something's happening, just follow the money."
Wisconsin's public land and it's resources belong the citizens. The Treasurer is a member of the Board of Commission of Public Lands. The Board approves the selling of land to either the DNR or to private individuals and corporations. The money received from the purchase is suipposed to be put back to the public works projects, like a bridge, to purchase school materials or to cut tuitions for example. If it buys land it has to borrow.
Which is why the governor wanted the consitutionally mandated office of Treasurer eliminated - it provides a check and balance to a governor's ambitions. Land can be sold off to corporations if the Board approves it. If the Treasurer was from the opposition party, it could be trouble for his agenda. That's why Walker proposed putting the Lt. Governor in the Treasurer's place - there'd be no opposition to his plans. In fact the Republican's were so sure they'd win the Treasurer officially decided to run for a the State Assembly. Fortunately the electorate stood up, and handed the Repbulicans a defeat by overwhelmingly voting in April of 2018 to keep the constitutionally mandated office of the Treasurer.
I believe in science and I believe in being fiscally smart long term. The Commision's decision will always have a far reaching consequences on everything from timber sustainability and water quality to animal life and community enrichment.
As Treasurer I'll always the principle that we should protect our land, water and air by looking at the environmental science behind a proposal to make sure that money is used in the public's best interest.
Amnicon Falls State Park in Douglas County near Lake Superior has a series of delightful waterfalls that you can swim under and rapids to ride. Common sense decision making must be made to preserve the beauty of our lands, which comes with the State Treasurer's position on the Public Lands Commission.
Wisconsin roads rank 49th out of 50 because they're not being funded correctly. Nearly 1200 bridges are rated structurally deficient. With a rearrangement of how we handle taxpayer money we could have more money availble through a state bank for repairs.
One of only 11 National Scenic Trails, the Ice Age Trail is a premier hiking trail located only in Wisconsin. There are excellent opportunities for sightseeing, wildlife viewing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, bicycling and ATV use.
It's not a new idea. Benjamin Franklin help create the first public bank in 1729. North Dakota's had a successful state bank for almost 100 years. Michigan recently passed legislation to handle their own money because they too saw the advantages of having control over their money.
A State Bank of Wisconsin