Experience (Max 500 characters)
Duane Davidson was elected as Washington’s 23rd state treasurer in 2016, winning a majority of the vote in all 39 counties of Washington State. Prior to his election as state treasurer, Duane had a long career as a public treasurer and government finance professional both as a four-term county treasurer and chief accountant for Benton County. Duane served the state for several years as an assistant state auditor, auditing local governments, and began his career as a certified public accountant.
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As described in the introduction, Duane has extensive experience as a public treasurer, first as a four-term County Treasurer, and now completing his first term as State Treasurer. His experience as a former assistant state auditor has provided excellent knowledge of good internal controls, as well as checks and balances to make sure that public dollars are safe and secure. That is a treasurer’s paramount duty, protecting public funds and maintaining adequate liquidity for short-term obligations. Duane served an unprecedented three terms as president of the Washington State Association of County Treasurers. This provided him the opportunity to learn how to work in a bipartisan fashion, which earned him the respect from county treasurers throughout Washington state. Duane is the only candidate for treasurer with bipartisan support, with endorsements from current and former officials at the state, county, and local levels.
1. Continue to expand services to help local governments financially
2. Advocate for a well-funded “Rainy Day Fund”
3. Continue to advocate for no new taxes and avoid risky financial endeavors, such as a state-operated bank
Treasurer Davidson has appointed three current members of his staff to committees that are responsible for the state’s pension funds, affordable housing, and the guaranteed tuition program. These individuals have responsibilities at the Treasurer’s office that directly relate to the committees they serve on. These individuals are extremely qualified to serve in this capacity, and expand the breadth of knowledge and diversify the representation on these committees. Unfortunately, his opponent routinely represents that Davidson has foregone involvement in these committees, this is untrue or at least extremely misleading. Duane closely monitors their performance and “the buck” will always stop with the treasurer.
1. During his first term in office, Duane obtained legislation that allowed the Treasurer’s office to expand investment services for cities, counties and other local governments. This program is off to a good start, and he would like to see its expansion statewide.
Additionally, Duane has expanded the program that offers local governments to “bundle” their debt issuances together, which allows for a very competitive low-interest rate, that saves a substantial amount in interest costs ultimately to the taxpayer.
2. Duane believes that the Rainy-Day Fund is an essential part of state budgeting that helps decrease the need for increased tax revenue during economic downturns. He will continue to fight for a proper benchmark to be established that provides for a greater likelihood that the fund can serve the purpose for which it was intended.
3. The concept of a state operated bank is a socialistic approach to banking services, which Duane has thoroughly studied and opposes its creation.
Washington has obtained a Triple-A bond rating for the first time in state history under Davidson’s leadership. This allows for substantial savings on our loans. In his first term in office, a major portion of the debt portfolio has been refinanced, which has saved future interest payments to the tune of 455 million dollars. The internal service fee the treasurer’s office charges for treasury services has been dropped to the lowest rate in state history, 20 basis points or (1/5th of one percent). All these measures are meant to help local governments so that they can better serve their taxpayers at the lowest possible cost.
Washington state has enjoyed a healthy and robust economy up to the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the state’s budget has increased substantially over the past couple of decades. Additional taxes are not needed, a review of substantial cost-drivers (expenditures that have increased faster than the norm) should be the focus of any attempt to improve the state’s budget and keep taxes from increasing that hurts both businesses and taxpayers.
There quite possibly may be some shortfalls that need to be addressed by budget cuts and financing. However, Duane is extremely apprehensive about state or local governments borrowing money for budget shortfalls, which basically equates to a pay-day loan for governments. Current federal assistance made available came at interest rates five times higher than private market rates, which is unacceptable, and borrowing at that rate will ultimately lead to the need for future tax increases.
Experience (Max 500 characters)
Elected Experience: Washington State Representative; House Capital Budget Committee member.
Other Professional Experience: Mike’s broad experience is needed to lead us through today’s complicated legal financial challenges. An economic crimes prosecutor (Assistant Attorney General), Mike managed a State unit of financial examiners, auditors, and analysts that returned over $30 million dollars to taxpayers from financial fraud.
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We are in an economic crisis. Your next State Treasurer must navigate legislative dynamics, enhance financial transparency, and lead complex legal financial policy to support economic recovery. Mike has the broad legislative, open government, and legal financial experience needed to address today’s legal financial challenges.
Mike has served on legislative fiscal committees, including the House Capital Budget Committee. As State Treasurer, he will have the legislature’s ear. A financial transparency champion, he passed laws to get “dark” money out of politics and opened legislative records to the people. Before joining the legislature, as an Assistant Attorney General, Mike managed a state unit of financial examiners, auditors, and analysts that returned over $30 million to taxpayers from financial fraud. Mike has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (economics minor), Master of Rural Development (Fulbright Scholar, Economic Development), and a Law Degree.
An economic recovery that works for all of Washington,
Greater financial transparency for our investments, and
Greater sustainability of our long-term and pension investments.
Mike has always rejected corporate campaign donations. He will end the longtime practice of treasurers investing in the same corporations that fund their campaigns–-and he will put working families’ and retirees’ interests first. He will keep our money safe and sound, guiding the legislature to meet bond rating agency expectations. He will also support infrastructure investment.
As Treasurer, he will create a Washington Transparency Portal, which will shine light on state expenses and how special interests benefit from state contracts.
Mike will bring investment oversight. The incumbent attended only 3 of the last 20 State Investment Board Meetings--including missing a critical June meeting to hold a political fundraiser with banking lobbyists instead. This Board invests $100 billion, protects pension dollars, and analyzes economic conditions. His predecessor attended nearly every meeting and chaired the Board. Mike will attend all these meetings and reduce long-term investment risk.
Over the last two years, the income return on State Treasurer-managed investments has dropped about 85%. During the first quarter of this year, pension assets dropped $6 billion. Mike will bring all hands on deck during this economic crisis. During the past two years, the incumbent has personally stopped attending critical fiscal policy committees.
Since the end of 2018, the incumbent missed all meetings of the Guaranteed Education Tuition Committee (educational investments), missed all meetings of the Washington Housing Finance Authority Commission (affordable housing investments), missed all meetings of the Economic Development Finance Authority (small business investments), and missed all but one meeting of the State Investment Board (pension investments). During our current economic crisis, Mike will do the job of State Treasurer; he will lead our state forward during these challenging economic times; and he will engage with the legislature to solve Washington’s fiscal problems.
Washington should fix the upside-down system that weighs too heavily on working families and retirees. As a legislator, Mike successfully closed corporate tax breaks and lowered property taxes for seniors. As Treasurer, he will support revenue collection as expected by our bond rating agencies. Mike will put the needs of working families and retirees first at all times.
Washington State should assist local governments in their infrastructure development, especially in the short-term through expanded Public Works Trust Fund investment. The State Treasurer should also more effectively advocate to Congress to ensure that our local governments will be eligible for federal assistance, when prudent and appropriate. The current State Treasurer has called on local governments to not accept federal emergency COVID relief, because the interest rate associated with these federal funds does meet our state’s unique fiscal structure. A State Treasurer should be constantly working with our federal congressional delegation before laws are passed to avoid these legal financial challenges, so local governments can address COVID-related financial shortfalls. Mike is endorsed to be our next State Treasurer by the majority of our state’s members of Congress.