Candidate for: Treasurer
Occupation: Entrepreneur and retired financial services manger
Education: Georgetown University, B.A., Economics; New York University, M.B.A., Finance; Harvard Kennedy School, M.P.A.
Campaign Website: www.MikeHeffernan2014.com
Questions & Answers
Question: What opportunities does the Treasurer have to influence or set policy, and how would you use them?
My over-arching goal will always be to lower your tax burden and create opportunity for families in Massachusetts. I believe the most powerful tool for us to create opportunity in our communities is through education.
I will use the office of the treasurer to protect both the assets and the creditworthiness of the Commonwealth and its citizens. We currently have the highest debt per capita of any state. I will work with the Legislature and the governor to understand the impact of state spending and borrowing, and I will ensure a transparent process that is clear and accessible to the citizens.
As a Republican, I would be an important part of returning the two-party system to our state. By returning checks and balances to Beacon Hill, we can ensure these important issues are publicly debated and addressed instead of being kept hidden and ignored. This single party dominance has led to a dangerously unfunded pension system and the Commonwealth’s unnecessarily high levels of debt.
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?
Our current Pension system is woefully underfunded and is consistently ranked as one of the worst in the nation. I will work in a bipartisan manner to make funding and protection of our pension system and our retirees a legislative priority.Using my three decades of financial services experience working with investment managers, I will ensure that we have both the highest quality managers for our retirement assets as well as a lean and efficient structure to ensure safe, risk adjusted returns for our state employees and retirees.
I will advocate for the adoption of the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investing. These principles ensure that the entire investment process incorporates environmental, social and corporate governance goals in addition to the traditional focus on return on investment. While we have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize a risk-adjusted return for retirees and taxpayers of Massachusetts, the Principles for Responsible Investing provide a way to achieve socially responsible investing consistently and prudently.
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?
Our state legislature has systematically cut UGGA – Unrestricted General Government Aid – 40 percent since 2009. The Massachusetts Lottery is now our sole source of this unrestricted local aid. The Lottery is a $5 billion enterprise. I have thirty years of business experience. Every dollar we save is a dollar we can send back to cities and towns to help them pay for services to citizens. If casinos become a reality in this state, I will work with the casino operators and state gaming regulators to explore ways to increase Lottery revenues, not simply mitigate any negative impacts.
I oppose the use of credit cards for the purchase of Lottery tickets; individuals should not gamble on credit. With respect to online gambling, I believe the issue needs further study. Technology is moving at a rapid pace and we will need extensive research to understand its potential impact on our citizens, our Lottery and any casinos located in Massachusetts.