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Treasurer partners with local artists to highlight the opportunity to invest in school improvements, clean water and sustainable infrastructure
During a visit to the construction site of the future East Providence High School today Treasurer Seth Magaziner announced new measures to make it easier for Rhode Islanders to invest in state bonds and the launch of a campaign to encourage Rhode Islanders to invest in bond-funded school construction and environmental projects.
The announcement was made ahead of the state’s plans to offer $153 million in bonds to support school construction, clean water and other infrastructure projects throughout the state. Projects being funded include new high schools in East Providence and Lincoln, renovations to Smithfield Elementary School, the dredging the Providence River, and funding for the Clean Water State Revolving Fund, as well as more than a dozen other voter-approved initiatives across the state.
“Beginning next week, Rhode Islanders will have a chance to make our state stronger by investing in Rhode Island Bonds,” said Treasurer Magaziner. “By investing in Rhode Island Bonds, you will play a direct role in improving our state’s schools and natural environment, while also helping to keep more of the interest we pay to bondholders right here in Rhode Island.”
The Treasurer partnered with local artists to raise awareness about the opportunity to buy Rhode Island bonds and the projects they will fund.
“I appreciate the opportunity Treasurer Magaziner has given me to be a part of this campaign. I was inspired by the New Deal era posters that showcased the grit and determination of working people,” said local artist Simon Allen. “Bringing that style into the 21st century and benefiting the state where I live is very meaningful. I’m proud to know that these posters and will help raise awareness and the spotlight will help fund infrastructure projects across Rhode Island.”
Beginning Tuesday, November 26, 2019, Rhode Islanders will be able to access information about the upcoming bond sale, the artwork, projects being supported and information for investors at www.RhodeIslandBonds.com. Bonds will be sold the week of December 10, 2019.
Rhode Island's pension system continues to improve its relative investment performance when compared to similarly sized public pension funds, outperforming 78% of its peers in the fiscal year ending on June 30, 2019.
Leading market intelligence firm, InvMetrics, found that Rhode Island performed in the top quartile among public pension funds over $1 billion, according to a report from New England Pension Consulting, which serves as a consultant to pension plans throughout the country, including Rhode Island.
Rhode Island's performance continues to steadily improve compared to its peers, marking the second consecutive fiscal year in which the plan outperformed the median in its peer group. This recent success stands in contrast to historical performance, in which Rhode Island often lagged its peers. The system's relative performance ranked in the sixty-sixth percentile among peers for a ten-year period, while improving to fifty-seventh in a five-year period, and twenty-second over a one-year period.
Under Treasurer Magaziner's leadership, the state adopted the 'Back to Basics' investment strategy, which is designed to provide long-term growth over time and stability when markets are challenging. Since implementation of Back to Basics began in September 2016, the fund has earned $1.8 billion from investments as of July 31, 2019.
Detailed information about the fund, including the 'Back to Basics' investment strategy, performance, and detailed information about its managers are published online as part of Treasurer Magaziner's "Transparent Treasury" initiative.
Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today released the 2019 Rhode Island Debt Affordability Study, which provides comprehensive information on the debt, pension and post-employment liabilities of the state, municipalities and quasi-public agencies of Rhode Island.
"Rhode Island must continue its commitment to making critical investments in infrastructure projects that create good jobs that protect the health and wellness of our residents," said Treasurer Magaziner. "We must also ensure that we borrow within our means."
The report finds that the liabilities of the State and most Rhode Island municipalities are generally within acceptable levels. However, the total liabilities of seven municipalities are in excess of recommended limits and warrant heightened attention from policymakers in those communities.
This Rhode Island Debt Affordability Study is the second to be released since Treasurer Magaziner led reforms to the state's debt management practices. The previous iteration of the Rhode Island Debt Affordability Study in 2017 received national recognition for being among the most comprehensive studies of its kind ever conducted by a state. The 2019 edition of the study goes further, by making Rhode Island the first state to formally incorporate OPEB (Other Post-Employment Benefits) into its affordability recommendations.
The findings and guidance provided in this study are a part of the ongoing work of the Public Finance Management Board, chaired by Treasurer Magaziner, to provide information that can help Rhode Island communities effectively manage their debt.
Approximately 2,900 Rhode Island Student Loan Authority (RISLA) borrowers will have their outstanding student loan balance reduced as part of a Loan Forgiveness Program announced today by RI General Treasurer Seth Magaziner and Charles Kelley, Executive Director of RISLA.
RISLA can reduce these student loan balances as a result of the strong performance of the bonds it issues.
"Our ability to offer this loan forgiveness program is largely driven by the timely repayment of these loans which in turn, kept the net default rate for this program to less than two percent," said Mr. Kelley. "Our mission to provide students and families with safe, low cost loans that minimize the burden of borrowing with the lowest interest rates in the country is considerably aided by our responsible borrowers who share the credit in making this loan forgiveness program possible."
Last year RISLA was able to help over 4,500 students and families save thousands of dollars with low fixed rate in-school and refinancing loan programs.
"As the cost of college and vocational training continues to rise, this loan forgiveness is welcome news to student loan borrowers who are making every effort to pay off their loans," said Treasurer Magaziner, who serves on the agency's board of directors. "RISLA is a valuable resource for Rhode Island students because they offer high-quality student loans and exceptional support for borrowers."
Tax exempt student loan bond issuers like RISLA have the ability to forgive a portion of a student loan if an individual bond issue performs significantly better than expected after 7 to 10 years of loan repayment history and incurs very low defaults. RISLA has taken this opportunity to reduce the balance of loans in the impacted bond issues without risking a rating downgrade or negatively impacting bond holders.
RISLA will offer partial loan forgiveness on loans funded by RISLA's 2010-A, 2012-A and 2013-A bonds. A total of 3,900 loans will be partially reduced at a value of $2.4 million.
Borrowers whose loan is being partially forgiven have been notified via letter from RISLA and the amount forgiven will automatically be applied to the individual's account. The amount of the loan forgiveness is dependent upon the tax-exempt bond issue that funded the loan and calculated based on a percentage of the dollar amount outstanding on the loan as of May 31, 2019.
About RISLA: The Rhode Island Student Loan Authority is a non-profit quasi-state authority which has been providing affordable higher education solutions since 1981. It also operates the College Planning Center located at the Warwick Mall in Warwick and at 652 George Washington Hwy in Lincoln, Rhode Island. In addition to providing loans and facilitating applications for federal grants, RISLA educates families on how to obtain financial aid, walks students through the college planning process, provides tools that can help families make informed and responsible borrowing choices for college, and aids students in jump-starting their careers
Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner this week is hosting the largest meeting of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) in the organization's history, with nearly 750 attendees from across the country convening in Providence for the 2019 Treasury Management Training Symposium.
"We are excited to show our treasury colleagues what a special place Rhode Island is," said Treasurer Magaziner. "The NAST conference will feature a robust agenda of educational sessions for attendees. The evening networking events will be unparalleled and include a public lighting of WaterFire on Thursday at sundown."
The Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau estimates that the direct positive economic impact of hosting the NAST conference will be nearly $800,000, a figure which does not include additional tourism spending by attendees.
"We are grateful to Treasurer Magaziner and his team for recommending Rhode Island as the site of this meeting. We hope that more Rhode Islanders will follow his lead and bring lucrative meeting, convention and sporting event business to the Ocean State," said Kristen Adamo, President & CEO of the Providence Warwick Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The NAST conference will take place at the Rhode Island Convention Center on May 21 - 24, 2019, and will include sessions on a wide range of topics including investments and cash management, college affordability, infrastructure and debt management, unclaimed property and financial education.
WaterFire will start the 2019 season with a basin lighting on Thursday, May 23, 2019, sponsored in part by the National Association of State Treasurers. The lighting, which is scheduled for 8:07 p.m., is open to the public.
# # #
About NAST: The National Association of State Treasurers provides advocacy and support that enables member states to pursue and administer sound financial policies and programs benefiting the citizens of the nation. Membership is comprised of all state treasurers or state finance officials with comparable responsibilities from the United States, its commonwealths, territories, and the District of Columbia, along with employees of these agencies.
Treasurer Magaziner today, in his capacity as Chair of the Advisory Council for Locally Administered Pension Plans, released a report which details key information on the status and trends of each of the 35 locally-administered pension plans in Rhode Island.
"All Rhode Islanders deserve security and predictability in retirement, especially those Rhode Islanders who have spent their lives serving the community," said Treasurer Magaziner. "These report cards continue my commitment to transparency by helping the public understand the financial condition of municipal pension systems."
Rhode Island's 35 locally-administered pension plans carry a combined unfunded liability of $2.5 billion, and 60 percent of these plans are in critical status. In contrast, only four of the 118 municipal pension plans managed by the state through the Municipal Employees' Retirement System (MERS) are in critical status.
"While some of Rhode Island's locally administered pension plans are in strong financial condition, others remain underfunded," said Treasurer Magaziner. "It is my hope that this report will be a resource to all stakeholders engaged in policy discussions on the strength and sustainability of municipal pension plans."
The Advisory Council on Locally Administrated Pension Plans is a volunteer committee tasked with overseeing the publication of this study. The council members are Auditor General Dennis Hoyle, Director of Revenue Mark Furcolo, Lincoln Town Administrator Joseph Almond, and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Maureen Martin.
Asked to highlight the accomplishments of his office over the past year, Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth
Magaziner cited a mix of bread-and-butter matters with community outreach.
“A lot of time, we as treasurers deal with arcane and lofty issues, but we also need to focus on people and
quality of life,” Magaziner said in an interview. “What I’m most proud of is advocating strong financial
management that has a real impact on the local economy that make people’s lives better.”
The Rhode Island pension fund finished well ahead of U.S. and global stock markets in December due to the defensively positioned investments in the fund's portfolio. In a month where U.S. stocks fell more than nine percent, the pension fund posted a -2.88 percent return, outperforming the Russell 3000 US stock market index by 6.4 percent. This outperformance represents more than $500 million of value that was preserved due to the defensive positioning of the pension fund's investment strategy.
Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue today released its FY 2019 Cash Collections Report for November 2018. The Cash Collections Report, which is issued on a monthly basis, compares current fiscal year cash collections by revenue item on a fiscal year-to-date and monthly basis to prior fiscal year cash collections by revenue item. The cash collections report makes no adjustments for the timeliness of the receipt of revenues and provides readers with insight into the state's cash flow over the course of the fiscal year.
PROVIDENCE, RI - Rhode Island ended 2018 at an all-time high with 505,000 jobs in the state, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. There have been over a half-million jobs in Rhode Island for seven consecutive months. At 3.9%, Rhode Island's unemployment rate is now level with the national average.
Farms in Barrington, East Greenwich, Jamestown, and Little Compton will use over $67K in funding for renewable energy investments to "green" their operations and save money
Twelve projects across six cities and towns will split $2.6 million in funding, made available by the 2016 Green Economy Bond. Supporting Governor Raimondo's commitment to clean energy, DEM selected one project that will become a solar farm and two projects with rooftop solar arrays. Another project will transform a dilapidated parking lot into a LEED-certified apartment building with a green roof to collect stormwater.
NORTH PROVIDENCE, R.I. - At North Providence Town Hall Governor Gina M. Raimondo and the Rhode Island Commerce Corporation announced that nine cities and towns throughout the state have been awarded Main Street RI Streetscape Improvement Fund grants.
The State's investment strategy earned 0.96 percent during the month of August, outperforming its benchmark return of 0.88 percent and continuing to deliver strong returns for the pension fund.
"Our members deserve a stable and healthy retirement system," said Treasurer Magaziner. "The Back to Basics investment strategy, which we began implementing two years ago, continues to deliver both growth and protection for the pension fund and our members."
Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner today issued an overview of the actions his office has taken this year to strengthen corporate accountability at hundreds of publicly traded companies in which the state's pension fund invests.
(Providence, R.I.), The Rhode Island Department of Revenue (DOR) today released its FY 2019 Revenue Assessment Report for August 2018. The Revenue Assessment Report, which is issued on a monthly basis, compares the adjusted general revenues by revenue source on a fiscal year-to-date and monthly basis to expected general revenues by revenue source. Expected general revenues are estimated by DOR's Office of Revenue Analysis from the revenue estimates enacted in the FY 2019 budget. The methodology underlying the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimates is contained in the report.
Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue today released its FY 2018 Special Report on Preliminary Revenues. This report provides a detailed look at FY 2018 preliminary revenues as provided in the Controller's Preliminary General Fund Revenue Report for FY 2018 and compares these revenues to both the final enacted FY 2018 revenue estimates and the audited FY 2017 revenues as provided in the Final General Fund Revenue Report for FY 2017. Some of the detail information is derived from reports generated by the Division of Taxation and the Division of Lottery. This report should be viewed as a complement to the Controller's Preliminary General Fund Revenue Report for FY 2018.
Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue today released its FY 2018 Cash Collections Report for June 2018. The Cash Collections Report, which is issued on a monthly basis, compares current fiscal year cash collections by revenue item on a fiscal year-to-date and monthly basis to prior fiscal year cash collections by revenue item. The cash collections report makes no adjustments for the timeliness of the receipt of revenues and provides readers with insight into the state's cash flow over the course of the fiscal year.
Providence, R.I. -- The Rhode Island Department of Revenue (DOR) today released its FY 2019 Revenue Assessment Report for July 2018. The Revenue Assessment Report, which is issued on a monthly basis, compares the adjusted general revenues by revenue source on a fiscal year-to-date and monthly basis to expected general revenues by revenue source. Expected general revenues are estimated by the DOR's Office of Revenue Analysis from the revenue estimates enacted in the FY 2019 budget. The methodology underlying the Office of Revenue Analysis' estimates is contained in the report.
Rhode Island's pension fund continued to deliver strong performance under Treasurer Magaziner's Back to Basics investment strategy earning $125 million in July. That 1.51 percent return on the month finished ahead of the fund's benchmark which returned 1.31 percent. The positive performance was driven by the investments in the global stock market - mostly low fee index funds designed to provide long-term growth.
PROVIDENCE, RI - According to data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Labor Statistics, Rhode Island added 1,200 jobs last month and set another new all-time high record for the number of jobs in the state. The state's unemployment rate, which was well over 6 percent and one of the highest in America when Governor Gina M. Raimondo took office ticked down another 0.2 percentage points to 4.1 percent, the lowest unemployment rate the state has had since 2000. Since the start of 2015, Rhode Island has added 21,000 new jobs.
PROVIDENCE, RI- Governor Gina M. Raimondo released the 2018 Rhode Island Clean Energy Industry report today, which showed that clean energy employment in the Ocean State has grown by a remarkable 72 percent since 2014 and resulted in 6,650 new jobs across the state. The clean energy sector now counts more than 15,800 green jobs in total
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today announced that the State's pension fund finished its fiscal year ahead of its investment target and benchmarks. The fund returned 8.03 percent in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, ahead of its 7.0 percent annual target and ahead of its own benchmark which returned 7.59 percent over the same period. The fund also outperformed a traditional 60 percent stock/40 percent bonds portfolio which would have earned just 6.25 percent.
General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today joined retired members of the St. Joseph Health Services of Rhode Island pension plan to propose new transparency requirements for pension plans managed by religious organizations that collectively cover thousands of Rhode Island workers.
R.I.-based Deepwater Wind will invest $250 million locally on project, including $40 million on private investment at ProvPort and Quonset
Construction activities for Revolution Wind project to start in 2020
Project will provide enough energy to power 200,000+ Rhode Island homes
Raimondo positioning Rhode Island as hub for North America's offshore wind industry
PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM), along with its partners, today awarded over $210,000 to 21 local food businesses as part of its annual Agriculture "Ag" Day celebration at the State House. The awards, funded under the Local Agriculture & Seafood Act (LASA) grant program, help new and existing small businesses and food initiatives prosper in Rhode Island.
"Agriculture Day shines a bright light on Rhode Island's vibrant food scene and rich agricultural and fishing heritage," said Governor Gina Raimondo. "Today's Local Agriculture and Seafood Act grants will help nurture new food ventures and grow our state's green economy. I congratulate all grant recipients and look forward to celebrating the success of these outstanding initiatives."
PROVIDENCE – As part of her continued efforts to grow Rhode Island's green economy, Governor Raimondo will join the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) and partners next week to mark the 17th anniversary of Agriculture Day in Rhode Island; as part of the event, over $210,000 in grants to local farmers and community groups will be announced.
Two years of obstruction and tactical maneuvering weren't enough to keep a large coalition of shareholders, led by Rhode Island General Treasurer Seth Magaziner, from taking Navient Corp., the nation's largest student loan servicer, to task over its role in the growing national student debt crisis today at the company's annual meeting.
This is the first time shareholders have had the opportunity to vote on Treasurer Magaziner's proposal, which would require the company to provide shareholders with an analysis of risks and potential governance failures related to the student loan crisis.
Rhode Island's pension fund continued to deliver strong performance in April, earning $55.4 million. The fund's 0.67 percent return outperformed its own benchmark of 0.35 percent, as well as a traditional 60% stock/40% bonds strategy which would have returned 0.28 percent.
Continuing his commitment to provide additional transparency on Rhode Island's public finances, Treasurer Seth Magaziner today announced the launch of a new, dedicated information platform for bond investors at RhodeIslandBonds.com.
"Bonds are essential to finance projects that improve schools, transportation and other quality of life projects that are important for Rhode Island communities to grow, "said Treasurer Magaziner. "This new web portal offers a new, more transparent and user-friendly way to provide investors with information about State and municipal bond offerings."
With thousands of pages of data and documents, Rhode Island's new investor portal provides insight into the credit fundamentals behind the state's bond ratings. RhodeIslandBonds.com consolidates the State's credit data and documents, providing comprehensive, sortable and searchable financial information to institutional and retail bond investors, as well as credit ratings agencies.
The goal of the new investor portal is to attract more investors to Rhode Island's bond program, increasing the demand for bonds. A broader, more diversified pool of investors can help lower the cost of borrowing for public infrastructure and reduce the burden on Rhode Island taxpayers.
This launch is one in a series of steps that the Treasurer has taken to improve the State's position in the bond marketplace. In 2016, Treasurer Magaziner conducted the state's first competitive sale of tax-exempt bonds in nearly a decade, resulting in $2.7 million of net savings in debt service costs for Rhode Island taxpayers. In 2017, he released the most comprehensive Debt Affordability Study in the State's history, setting new debt affordability targets for the first time since 1999.
PROVIDENCE, RI - For the fifth time in seven months, Rhode Island has set a new jobs record. There are currently 499,300 jobs in Rhode Island and the number of Rhode Islanders working is the highest it's been in a decade, according to data released today by the U.S. Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics. Governor Gina M. Raimondo released the following statement on the April Jobs Reports:
"This month's jobs report is yet another signal that our economy continues to get stronger, and that our recovery is including more and more Rhode Islanders. Our new approach to job training and economic development is working. Jobs are at an all-time high, we've gone from #49 in the U.S. to #1 in wage growth, and our economy has gone from #36 to ninth best in the nation. Because we didn't give up on Rhode Islanders who make a living making things, we've added 1,200 manufacturing jobs in the last year.
"We need to build on our progress and can't afford to go back to the old way of doing things. Let's keep going, and let's keep working until everyone has the economic security they deserve."
Select highlights from the April Jobs Report follow: • 499,300 total jobs, an all-time high. Rhode Island has set new records for jobs five times in the last seven months. • Rhode Island has added 16,500 jobs since Governor Raimondo took office and 7,200 over the last 12 months. • Manufacturing jobs: +400 compared to March 2018; +1,200 compared to April 2017. There are currently 41,600 manufacturing jobs in Rhode Island - the most since May 2009. • Labor force is up 900 compared to last month and up 5,600 over the last 12 months.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - The U.S. Department of Education announced today that Potter Burns Elementary School in Pawtucket has been selected as a 2018 Green Ribbon School, and the University of Rhode Island has been selected as a Postsecondary Sustainability Awardee. These awards recognize educational institutions that have reduced their environmental impact, improved the health and wellness of their school environment and provided effective education on sustainability.
Rhode Island Treasurer Seth Magaziner today announced that checks will be mailed to more than 8,000 Rhode Islanders this week under the his new YOUR MONEY program, which automatically reunites Rhode Islanders with their unclaimed property.
"For hard-working Rhode Island families, a little extra cash can make a big difference," said Treasurer Magaziner. "Through the YOUR MONEY initiative, we are now able to efficiently reunite many Rhode Islanders with missing money that is rightfully theirs."
Treasurer Magaziner's YOUR MONEY initiative matches unclaimed property lists with known addresses, which means that for thousands of people, their missing money can be returned to them automatically – with no paperwork required. In the past, every resident had to check the state's online database to see if they have unclaimed property and then submit a claim form.
Seizing an opportunity to save taxpayers millions, General Treasurer Seth Magaziner today announced $7.2 million in savings found by refunding $70 million in state debt to take advantage of more favorable interest rates.
"Rhode Islanders deserve to know that they have an advocate in state government who making sure that public borrowing is done responsibly and affordably," said Treasurer Magaziner. "I created Treasury's Office of Debt Management to make sure we are taking advantage of opportunities to save money and implement responsible borrowing practices throughout the state."
Of the $7.2 million in savings for the state, $3.4 million will be saved in the upcoming fiscal year alone. As the outstanding principal was reduced from $70.4 million to $66.9 million.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Building on her commitment to a clean, affordable and reliable energy future, Governor Gina Raimondo announced today that Rhode Island has selected Deepwater Wind, the Rhode Island-based clean energy developer, to construct a new, 400-megawatt offshore wind farm. The Revolution Wind project--more than ten times the size of the Block Island Wind Farm--was selected through a competitive offshore wind procurement process in collaboration with Massachusetts.
S&P says Rhode Island 2017A, B GO bonds assigned 'AA' ratings; other ratings affirmed
Says the 'AA' rating on the series 2017 bonds reflects view of Rhode Island's good incomes on par with the nation
Outlook on all ratings is stable