On Tuesday, Arizona State Treasurer Kimberly Yee visited southern Arizona to discuss the current status of Arizona finances.
Yee addressed the enthusiastic Green Valley crowd following a phenomenal presentation by the Tucson Boys Chorus directed by Julian Ackerley. The Chorus is making the rounds in preparation for a performance at the White House.
Yee’s political credentials are impressive; having served as deputy cabinet secretary under former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to being elected as Majority Leader while serving as an Arizona State senator.
The Treasurer’s Office is responsible for the oversight of over 40 Billion dollars that flows through the state agencies on top of more than 17 Billion dollars in assets the state owns. In November, the Treasurer’s Office reported a record K-12 education monthly distribution of $28.5 million.
Yee discussed issues facing the millennial generation and their ability to manage their money effectively. Her office has championed a program for high schools to provide financial education as a requirement for graduation. She reported the 2019-2020 academic year will be the first to require students to complete this program for graduation.
She also discussed another program brought rolled out under her short tenure to provide financial education and literacy for vulnerable populations to include the elderly, single-parent families and veteran’s. This program was brought to life due to the work of a task force created by Yee after assuming office. The statewide financial education task-force was comprised of individuals from across the state.
The financial literacy information is located here: https://aztreasury.gov/financial-literacy/
Yee gave her interpretation of how legislators see tax dollars and debt. She drew sharp contrast between the taxpayer and legislators and how each look at debt and the ability to repay. Many legislators see debt as something that does not need to be repaid or can be continued in perpetuity.
Yee went on to define and discuss the PLETF or Permanent Land Endowment Trust Fund. She relayed the majority of the money that is invested under the PLETF is distributed to K-12 education. This year’s distribution is $342 million in addition to the money they receive from the legislature.
She circled back to discuss her time working for former Governor Schwarzenegger. As a fiscal conservative, she identified some issues relating to automatic payments being processed without any semblance of scrutiny.
Upon deeper investigation, Yee identified excessive waste of rental storage warehouses by the state. After identifying excessive unused property from furniture, computers, to confiscated vehicles, she spearheaded the first statewide garage sale.