Candidate for: Treasurer
Occupation: State Representative 13th Middlesex District
Education: B.A., Russian and East European Studies, Yale; MBA, Finance, Boston University; M.A., International Economics, Johns Hopkins
Campaign Website: www.tomconroy.org
Questions & Answers
Question: What opportunities does the Treasurer have to influence or set policy, and how would you use them?
As Treasurer, I will craft legislation related to the issues affecting the responsibilities of the office and partner with my colleagues in the House and Senate to ensure this legislation becomes law.
I will also use the constitutional and statutory authority of the Treasurer’s office to create opportunities, address financial problems, and launch initiatives that affect Massachusetts residents by:
- Conducting analyses and speaking up on budget issues related to our long-term financial health, including pension and health insurance liabilities, interest payments on debt, revenues, and workforce training, among other issues;
- Working with the Massachusetts School Building Authority to ensure our schools are safe, modern, energy-efficient, and of the highest quality;
- Providing financial literacy training and student debt assistance to aspiring college students;
- Investing more taxpayer dollars in Massachusetts-based banks, which can then lend more to local businesses and help those businesses grow and create new jobs;
- Managing our tax dollars efficiently and effectively while strengthening our Commonwealth’s economy and financial stability; and,
- Helping to finance infrastructure projects to upgrade our schools, public transportation, water, and housing.
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?
As State Treasurer, I will use prudent investment strategies to achieve consistent, positive returns while utilizing a social and economic justice asset allocation model that reflects the Commonwealth’s values. My priorities will include:
- Ensuring the solvency of the state pension and retiree health care trust funds by generating a long-term high return on investment to reduce our unfunded liabilities;
- Protecting our Commonwealth from unnecessary or undue financial risks;
- Using my national expertise in non-tax revenue generation to help Massachusetts state agencies grow their budgets, ease budget challenges, and help our government achieve more;
- Investing in companies and funds that support middle class jobs and will help rebuild our infrastructure in Massachusetts rather than outsourcing jobs overseas;
- Investing in companies that reduce, rather than produce, the air pollution that contributes to adverse climate change;
- Strengthening the Massachusetts economy by investing more pension funds in local businesses; and,
- Protecting the covenant we made with our state employees who are depending on their pensions and health insurance to retire in dignity.
For most of my professional life, I have focused on helping private and public sector organizations make smart financial decisions, and I would use these experiences daily as the next State Treasurer.
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?
Massachusetts has the most lucrative and successful lottery in the nation. However, the introduction of casinos will undoubtedly have a negative impact on our Lottery’s revenues, and, in turn, the almost $1 billion in aid going to the 351 cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth every year.
Based in part on a detailed cost-benefit analysis I conducted in 2008, as Treasurer, I will implement my plan to protect the Lottery and our local aid. With the assistance of a task force of experts, I will have the pieces in place to protect lottery revenues and local aid within the first 100 days in office. In addition, I also believe we must study our current Lottery system and find ways to make it a less regressive and a more progressive system.
In today’s rapidly changing economy, we must constantly reinvent, modernize, and re-evaluate our Lottery. But this does not have to include online gambling or the use of credit cards: I oppose both of these initiatives, and, as Treasurer, I would work with my colleagues in the Legislature to find other creative solutions to keep our State Lottery strong, and—most importantly—to continue providing aid to our local communities.