Milligan discusses progress, investing – Log Cabin Democrat

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Treasurer of the State Dennis Milligan discussed the progress his office has made over the past four years and encouraged attendees to take advantage of the AR 529 college investing plan while speaking at the Conway Lions Club meeting.

“There’s an old saying ‘After all is said and done, more will be said than done,'” Milligan said. “I consider that a challenge.”

Milligan serves as the state’s banker and is responsible for a $3.8 billion investment portfolio.

“That’s a heavy responsibility, to make sure we invest your money wisely,” he said.

Milligan said $195 million has been brought back to the state since he took office in 2014.

“How did we do it? We transformed the treasury from being very passive to being an active treasury,” he said, noting that the governor’s highway plans hinges on his office being able to maintain a $20 million excess.

Milligan joked that he enforces a no-pie zone in his office, making reference to his predecessor Martha Shoffner. Shoffner was convicted of extortion after accepting cash bribes hidden in pie boxes in order to steer state business to a certain broker.

Rather than banning pies, Milligan implemented the Blind Bidder program.

“We have no idea who is bidding. The highest bidder gets the money, period,” he said. “We give institutions at all levels the opportunity to compete for your money. The smaller banks are very appreciative of this program.”

The treasurer’s office went from receiving a grade of F in 2013 to a grade of B in 2017.

“I am a results-oriented guy,” Milligan said. “I know we’re making an impact.”

Milligan touted the AR 529 college investing plan that allows Arkansas taxpayers to deduct up to $10,000 in contributions to an AR 529 account from their adjusted gross income taxes.

“Who already pays income taxes?” he asked the crowd. After seeing all the raised hands, he continued: “Wouldn’t you rather put that money in a college fund than to give it to big government?”

Since his election, Milligan has grown AR 520 by nearly $258 million, which is around a 31 percent increase.

Milligan is seeking re-election in November. He faces Libertarian Ashley Ewald.

“No matter what, I want to be able to say that while I was treasurer, much more was done than said,” he said.