Candidate for: Treasurer
Occupation: State Senator and Small Business Owner
Education: JD, Massachusetts School of Law; MPP, Harvard Kennedy School
Campaign Website: www.BarryFinegold.com
Questions & Answers
Question: What opportunities does the Treasurer have to influence or set policy, and how would you use them?
I am running for State Treasurer because I want to invest more in Massachusetts. I want to invest in our schools by building 21st century classrooms for our students through the Massachusetts School Building Authority. I want to invest in our communities by promoting the most efficient Lottery that will produce capital for our local cities and towns. I want to invest our state pension dollars into local banks and businesses to create jobs for our citizens. I am a product of the Massachusetts’ dream. I grew up in public housing and worked hard for everything in my life. Massachusetts invested in me and I am running for Treasurer because we need to invest in our state and our communities to keep Massachusetts moving forward.
Question: The Treasurer is responsible for investing state funds, including pensions. What would be your investment strategy and priorities? Are there criteria other than return on investment that you would consider?
I believe that our pension fund should reflect our values. Currently, $52 million, or 0.09% of our $59.7 billion pension fund, is invested locally. I want to increase this requirement to $200 million and work with proven programs such as MassChallenge and the Sandbox to spread this investment throughout the Commonwealth, especially Gateway Cities.
I also want to invest in companies that represent the values of our state. Approximately 2.6% of the Massachusetts Pension Reserves Investment Trust (PRIT) Core is invested in fossil fuels, totaling approximately $1.4 billion in investments. These investments run counter to our state efforts to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels and promote renewable energy and efficiency. It was for similar reasons that the Legislature passed, and I voted for, a law divesting from tobacco-related companies in 1997. If, and only if, we can do so gradually and in a manner that does not negatively affect returns, I would be open to a divestment from fossil fuels.
Question: What are your plans for the State Lottery? Would you consider expanding into on-line gambling or allowing customers to use credit cards to pay for lottery tickets?
The Massachusetts Lottery is an incredibly successful entity that contributes approximately $1 billion in profits to the Commonwealth. As the next State Treasurer, I will do everything to ensure its continued success. Instrumental to the Lottery’s success is equitable distribution of profits based on need. I will strategically look into the current lottery distribution formula to ensure that cities and towns contributing the most are getting a proportional share of the revenue.
Additionally, I will do everything to ensure its continued success. However, I believe we must do all we can to ensure that our state gaming policies do not harm our communities. For that reason, I opposed the expanded gaming bill. I do not support expanding keno and lottery sales online, nor do I do support allowing credit card payments for scratch tickets at convenience stores as I believe both would increase addictive gaming behavior in our state. I would like to increase funding for resources that deal with addictive gaming behavior.