In this role, Treasurer Damschen will lead the group’s federal policy agenda.
“Treasurer Damschen has demonstrated a deep understanding of the policy issues facing state treasurers across the country,” said NAST President and Oklahoma State Treasurer Ken Miller. “I look forward to working with him to promote NAST’s wide-ranging 2017 policy platform during our upcoming legislative conference on Capitol Hill and throughout the year ahead.”
As Chairman of NAST’s Legislative Committee, Treasurer Damschen will help shape the association’s federal policy agenda and will work with the Association’s Executive Committee to coordinate federal advocacy efforts regarding state financial issues in Washington, D.C. The committee is comprised of nine members including NAST Vice Chairman Michael Frerichs, Illinois State Treasurer.
“It’s an honor to serve in this position and promote sound financial policies that benefit not only Utahns, but all Americans,” said Treasurer Damschen. “I look forward to working with Treasurer Frerichs, the rest of the Legislative Committee and the exceptional NAST staff in the coming year.”
The National Association of State Treasurers seeks to provide advocacy and support that enables member states to pursue and administer sound financial policies and programs benefiting the citizens of the nation. Membership is comprised of all state treasurers or state finance officials with comparable responsibilities from the United States, its commonwealths, territories, and the District of Columbia. The private sector is represented through the Corporate Affiliate Program that was established to build professional relationships and foster cooperation between the public and private sectors. The association serves its members through educational conferences and webinars, a variety of working groups, policy advocacy and publications that provide information about developments in public finance.
As part of its mission to be the nation’s leading advocate for responsible state treasury programs and related financial practices and policies, NAST maintains an office of federal relations in Washington, DC. The organization’s advocacy is guided by resolutions adopted by the membership. NAST’s legislative priorities include but are not limited to:
TAX-EXEMPT MUNICIPAL BONDS: CRITICAL FOR INFRASTRUCTURE: Tax-exempt municipal bonds are the primary financing mechanisms for state and local infrastructure projects. If the current tax treatment is eliminated or capped, the payment burden to finance much needed infrastructure projects will shift to states and municipalities. Proposed changes would force state and local governments to curtail investments in critical infrastructure projects.
HIGH QUALITY LIQUID ASSETS: THE DEFINITION ON MUNICIPAL SECURITIES: In 2014, federal regulators finalized a Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) Rule that did not define municipal securities as high quality liquid assets (HQLA). NAST supports bipartisan, House-passed legislation (H.R. 2209), introduced by Representatives Luke Messer (R-IN) and Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), that ensures highly rated municipal securities are treated as level 2A liquid assets.
FINANCIAL LITERACY PROMOTION: Financial literacy programs enable individuals and families to make the best use of their financial resources at key points in life. State treasurers and their private sector partners are working diligently to provide education and hands-on training to teach Americans of all ages these critical skills.
COLLEGE SAVINGS PLANS: EXPANDING ACCESS TO COLLEGE: 529 College Savings Plans are the primary tax advantaged way for families to save for college. As a part of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, Congress and the Administration approved common sense legislation to make improvements to the 529 program (H.R. 529/S. 335). NAST and its affiliate, the College Savings Plans Network (CSPN) look forward to working with Congress to improve 529 plans as Congress considers other changes to the tax code and the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
ABLE ACT: PROVIDING BENEFIT TO THE DISABLED COMMUNITY: Signed into law in 2014, the ABLE Act (H.R. 637/S. 313) amends the Internal Revenue Code to include tax-exempt ABLE accounts for individuals with disabilities. State treasurers and 529 administrators are working diligently to ensure that this new program benefits the disabled community in the manner intended.