State Treasurer Timothy A. Reese Friday issued the following statement as he prepares to leave office on January 17, 2017.
“It has been my profound honor to have served for the past 18 months as Pennsylvania State Treasurer. I appreciate the confidence both Governor Wolf and the state Senate placed in me by nominating and confirming me, respectively.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed serving as treasurer and the opportunity to lead a department of 360 dedicated employees. I thank them for their efforts. Pennsylvania is fortunate to have such a committed group working at Treasury.
“During my tenure, I have had two priorities: to safeguard and safely grow our state’s financial assets and to find ways to use those assets to help drive Pennsylvania’s economy. I am proud of the progress we have made in both areas in a relatively short amount of time.
“Treasury has ably served as the custodian of more than $100 billion and responsibly invested about $20 billion of that. We audited and processed millions of payments worth billions of dollars to hospitals, employees, schools and retirees. We returned a record amount of unclaimed property to the rightful owners, and continued to grow the PA 529 College Savings Program, which now helps more than 200,000 Pennsylvanians make higher education more achievable.
“Treasury created the Small Business Initiative, a unique private-public partnership that provided roughly 400 small businesses throughout the state with information and mentors to help them grow their business, and re-launched a low-cost loan program to help Pennsylvania homeowners work with local contractors to install energy-efficient equipment. We started a $500 million emerging manager fund that identifies innovative and diverse investment approaches that continues to exceed its benchmark objectives, and created a $100 million impact investment fund that supports affordable housing, small business and infrastructure projects throughout Pennsylvania.
“These programs make a difference in the lives of millions of Pennsylvanians across the state.
“For nearly half my time in office, the state struggled through a historic budget impasse and I had to weigh the practical and constitutional impact of simply making payments. These were tough decisions that were not always popular, but I made them without bias, and I stand by them.
“While the impasse was eventually resolved, in my view both as a businessman and treasurer, the state’s structural budget deficit remains a significant threat that the commonwealth must resolve soon if we are to reach our state’s full potential. Increases in both the frequency and amount that the state needs to borrow from Treasury simply to meet its obligations demonstrate that the current path is unsustainable.
“I empathize with our elected leaders, who must make tough decisions, but it is time to move beyond rhetoric and I urge all parties to work together to find solutions.
“Yet as I leave office, I remain optimistic about our state’s future. Pennsylvania is blessed with a wealth of natural resources, world-class universities, a thriving culture and a hard-working population. I have traveled throughout the state and met so many talented people who work hard to grow their business, invest in their communities and make Pennsylvania a better place to live and work.“I will always remain deeply grateful for this opportunity to serve them as Treasurer.”