The treasurer of a state is the person responsible for holding the state government's purse strings, overseeing the receipt, deposit, investment and disbursement of government monies. Treasurers are not usually responsible for deciding how this money is spent -- a job left to the governor, legislatures, and the state's voters -- but is tasked with accounting for it and ensuring it is spent in accordance with state and federal law.
Treasurers must supervise all money coming in and out of state coffers, with certain exceptions. In Nevada, for example, certain funds, including pension funds, insurance funds and certain-generating funds, have their own, independent administration. Although not usually involved in deciding how the money is spent, the treasurer may help decide how money is invested, so as to maximize state revenue. The treasurer will also generally serve as a member of a number of state boards and commissions.
According to the government of California's website, the state treasurer, in addition to being the state's lead asset manager, banker and financier, has a number of specific tasks. These include helping state and local government manage their money; chairing authorities that finance such projects as pollution clean-up, small businesses and health care facilities; and using his office to finance public works projects, such as schools, transportation projects and parks.
State treasurers have no specific requirements other than those each state mandates of its elected officials. (Many states, for example, require that public employees be U.S. citizens and have not been convicted of serious crimes.) For states in which the position is an elected position, the treasurer should have the resources to mount a successful campaign. They should also, ideally, have a background in banking, finance or accounting.
Benefits and Compensation
According to Salary.com, the median expected salary for a treasurer in the United States is $178,338. Treasurers in the 25th percentile receive an average of $144,963, while those in the 75th percentile receive $220,752. However, state treasurers, being public employees, may make significantly less than their private-sector counterparts. In New Mexico, for example, the treasurer makes only $85,000 per year. However, all state treasurers receive the benefits offered to municipal employees, which are often quite generous.
Many state treasurers are elected or appointed by the state's governor and are often limited to a particular length of time in office. The treasurer of California, for example, is elected for only four years, at which point he must run again. Many states also have term limits for elected officials, meaning that the can only hold a particular office for a certain number of years. This makes the long-term job security of this position very tenuous.
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