HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 15, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Incumbent State Treasurer Rob McCord took office for a second term today, vowing to maintain the results-driven approach to government that has produced $1.6 billion in investment returns and averted hundreds of millions of dollars in wasteful spending during his first four years in office.
McCord thanked his family members, as well as Treasury employees and others who have supported his work over the past four years. He went out of his way to note the efforts he and his office have made "to help senior citizens, students and all Pennsylvanians who seek more efficient government."
McCord also highlighted stories of his mother-in-law Aeolian Jackson, an African American, and stepmother Arline McCord, an American of Japanese ancestry, describing some of the economic injustices they faced in their lives, how they overcame them, and how America's political system allows for correction and continuous improvements.
"They remind me that political leadership is about a lot more than dollars and cents. Opportunity and hope and the ability to correct mistakes -- this is what our political system offers," he said.
McCord, 53, of Montgomery County, was sworn in by State Supreme Court Justice Debra Todd at the Keystone Building in Harrisburg. Robert O'Donnell, former Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, presided at the public ceremony.
In discussions with Treasury employees before, and in comments during, his swearing-in ceremony, McCord spoke to the need for improved investments in education, roads, bridges, clean water, and programs that create and improve communities.
"As I look ahead to my second term, my team and I will continue to find new, innovative ways to save and make money for the people of Pennsylvania," McCord said. "We've made Treasury a place where innovation and thinking outside the box thrives. That's what it will take to solve the problems we face today."
The McCord Treasury has run as a profit center for Pennsylvania that generates more in positive cash flow, even in the uncertain state and national economy of the past four years, than it requires to fund its operation. In addition to strong investment performance, McCord cited several examples of other practices that have paid off for the taxpayers.
Despite a 30 percent reduction in personnel because of budget cuts over the past four years, Treasury collected 41 percent more in unclaimed property in 2012 than in 2008 -- the year before McCord took office. It also returned 15 percent more to the people of the Commonwealth than four years ago. Last fiscal year alone, the Unclaimed Property program generated nearly $123.4 million in net revenue for the General Fund, or enough to fund Treasury's operations nearly four times based on current funding levels.
McCord also repaired the PA 529 Guaranteed Savings Plan, which after the market collapse of 2008-09 faced a $400 million deficit and was only 70 percent actuarially funded. Thanks to growth in investments and efforts to encourage more families to open accounts, the plan reached a 99 percent actuarial funding level last year. Families are saving in the PA 529 College Savings Program at record levels, up 23 percent since McCord took office.
The Treasury has caught and prevented more than $300 million in erroneous state payments, thanks to the business logic that McCord brought to auditing procedures.
"I want to make government work smarter and more efficiently. I also want to promote the idea of return-oriented public investments," McCord said, noting that when it comes to infrastructure, Pennsylvania has at least $3.5 billion in unfunded transportation needs and deteriorating water systems that will carry a nearly $40 billion price tag over the next two decades, according to some estimates.
"For every $1 billion we invest in these long term assets, we support between 40,000 and 50,000 jobs, something we need right now," he said.
McCord was elected Treasurer in his first try for public office in 2008, and was re-elected last November 6. Prior to his election, he worked for more than two decades as an entrepreneur, investor and job creator. From 1996 through 2007 he led the Eastern Technology Council, a trade association that served hundreds of fast-growing companies.
Before joining the private sector, McCord worked in Washington, DC, first as a staff member in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he specialized in budget and technology issues, and then as CEO of the Congressional Institute for the Future, a bipartisan think tank. He earned his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, and he earned his undergraduate degree, with high honors in history and economics, from Harvard University.
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Source: Pennsylvania Treasury