OVERVIEW | Dave Young has record to run as State Treasurer | Premium
If Dave Young isn’t doing his job, everyone in Colorado is paying, one way or another.
He will argue that he has been a good guardian of the state stock market as the Democrat, elected state treasurer three years ago, runs for a second term against a Republican who has yet to be identified .
Young is making sure payments from state agencies aren’t lagging behind, which would lower the state’s credit rating, read: The Cost to Taxpayers of Borrowing Money. Then it’s his job to invest the money that is lying around, so it pays a nice profit to help fund important public programs. It’s not a stupid change. Try $ 6.5 billion in over 750 funds. And if we can’t get our state dang stuff back, then the dang state should answer for that. This is our thing.
Politically speaking, the treasurer’s office was a stepping stone to the governor’s office. Republican Walker Stapleton took that rebound to no avail in 2018, falling under the charisma and checkbook of Democrat Jared Polis. The last Republican governor, Bill Owens, was treasurer, as was Democrat Roy Romer.
We’re getting pretty late into the game, and I couldn’t tell you for sure who Republicans are going to run for office. The two most prominent names are former State Senate Speaker Kevin Grantham and former running mate of Stapleton Lang Sias, a former state official.
Grantham tells me he’s still somewhere between a yes and a no. He has no burning desire to run statewide and work in Denver again. He was one of three Fremont County Commissioners in January. He’s a viable and loyal Republican for a party in need, however.
Sias hasn’t called me back, but after speaking last year, Insights reported, “Sias is marking her name on the GOP wishlist.
Don’t expect them to clash. I predict that if one viable Republican enters the race, another won’t. The Colorado GOP cannot afford a jarring and expensive primary.
Any viable Republican who advertises has a standing invitation to feature their program in Insights. Call me. If I don’t call you back, you’re not viable.
Young and I had a long, detailed conversation late on a Friday afternoon about what he has to show for three years in office. It can be pointed out that it helps small businesses, retirement savings and the general financial health of the state.
After the pandemic, data website WalletHub ranked Colorado 32nd in small business credit terms. Gin, meet tonic. Young helped establish the CLIMBER Loan Fund, which has $ 250 million to loan to businesses with less than 100 employees.
With the state budget plummeting last year, Young looked elsewhere to raise the state’s $ 50 million in seed capital. He sold tax credits. The remaining $ 200 million came from the private sector eager to provide loans, with the government recouping part of the profit margin.
“I think this CLIMBER program will restore our economy,” Young boasted.
Insights also told you last year about the Secure Savings Program, a plan to boost retirement savings that had languished in the General Assembly until young people and other Democrats passed the bill. 200 from the Senate in a party line vote last year.
Between 900,000 and 1 million Coloradians did not have access to a retirement savings plan through work, in large part because it is too expensive to run for a small business and too intellectually intimidating for many workers. The state-backed plan must be offered by any business that has been around for about two years or more with five or more employees.
Here’s where it gets a little sticky, which scared off Republican votes: Employees are automatically enrolled in a state-sponsored Roth IRA, unless they opt out. Studies show that most won’t, and these are people who are less likely to become dependent on public money as they age. The baby boomer silver tsunami will absorb future taxpayers, Young said.
The government operates much like my previous employers in the newspaper industry.
I’ve seen tough times come, and it never fails that the first people cut are the ones selling ads and subscriptions.
Fighting your way to profitability is a sugar spike that destroys your long term health; true for people, true for an industry.
The state legislature is a junk food junkie who has a habit of bypassing the treasurer’s office. Each year for the past two decades, the Treasury has been the least funded of all the autonomous bodies.
The office has 35 employees, give or take, to handle the state’s daily government bills, safely invest the money that is lying around, and most importantly, return the money and property to the owners or heirs who kind of ended state custody.
Young said he inherited a backlog of around 13,000 applications. In his first full year in office, his office processed 28,835 claims valued at $ 47.3 million.
He updated and automated the procedures. On the one hand, it regularly promoted and closely managed the program throughout the year, instead of a major annual advertising campaign for the Great Colorado Payback which resulted in a deluge of requests that overloaded the system and the small staff.
If the job is to pay the bills, make smart investments, and take care of people’s money and things, the understaffed and underfunded state treasurer’s office does.