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Government, Politics & Issues

Commentary: Foundation of fiscal responsibility and collaboration

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 22, 2012 - As state treasurer, I have a strong record of getting things done for Missourians. I’ve protected our AAA credit rating, safeguarded our $4 billion portfolio, and fought to remove the arbitrary cap on interest the state earns on its investments, bringing in millions of dollars for taxpayers. My administration takes a bi-partisan, sensible approach to the duties of the state treasurer, and received an “Excellent” rating from the Republican state auditor for job performance. 

More Missourians than ever are saving through our college savings program, growing through our small business loan program, and getting back their unclaimed property faster and more easily. We have built a foundation for fiscal integrity, transparency and accountability in Missouri, and I want to continue to build on these accomplishments.

In my second term as state treasurer, I will focus on how our foundation of fiscal responsibility and collaboration can help create jobs and grow Missouri’s economy. Fiscal responsibility means that we as a state meet our budgetary challenges while planning for tomorrow. It is important we do not pass burdens onto the next generation, but instead foster opportunities for Missouri’s future. This job is about making government work better by finding ways to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of state services like Unclaimed Property and Missouri 529 College Savings Program (MOST). It is also about finding opportunities to help Missouri families and businesses thrive.

In 2009, I retooled Missouri’s farm and small business loan program with the help of both Republicans and Democrats, making it easier for community lenders, small businesses and farms to participate. As a result, we tripled the number of community lenders participating in the program, and invested more than $1 billion in low-interest loans across the state with no credit risk to taxpayers. This achievement is an example of how a clear vision and commitment to partnership can help grow our economy.

Seventy-five percent of job growth during an economic recovery comes from small businesses. It is a critical piece of a dynamic economy. In my second term, I will continue to develop our small business loan program to make Missouri a better place for entrepreneurs. I will connect the dots between our established business and lending communities and startup businesses and bring together members of the nonprofit, higher education, and established business community that encourage business growth in our state. As an elected leader, I will address challenges that affect growing businesses, like an educated workforce, investment climate, transportation and economic development. My administration will work to create an environment where small businesses grow, thrive and put down roots in Missouri.

The successes of my administration came at no additional cost to taxpayers; they were the result of working together and building relationships that benefit more Missourians. That is the benefit of strong leadership with a clear vision of how to bring people and organizations together to work on improving Missouri’s fiscal environment and our economy.

Clint Zweifel, a Democrat, is running for a second term as treasurer.

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