What Does the New Mexico Treasurer Do?
The New Mexico State Treasurer is the “banker” for the state government, investing and managing the state’s operating funds and bond proceeds. The New Mexico Treasurer is also responsible for investing and managing the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) – a money market fund for New Mexico’s towns, counties, and cities.
What many people aren’t aware of is that–beyond these “banker” duties–the State Treasurer also holds a place of enormous influence over the New Mexico economy, as the only elected state official to serve as a member of all state financial and economic boards and commissions.
What is the History of the Office of State Treasurer?
In 1851, shortly after New Mexico became part of the United States as a consequence of the the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the treaty that followed the Mexican-American War, the newly-formed Territorial Legislature created the Office of Territorial Treasurer.
When New Mexico became a state in 1912, the New Mexico Constitution established the Office of the State Treasurer alongside the other constitutional officers: Governor, Lt. Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Auditor and Commissioner of Public Lands. It wasn’t until New Mexico achieved statehood that State Treasurer became an elected office.
Unlike the federal government, where the United States Constitution vests all executive power into the President of the United States, the New Mexico Constitution creates what political theorists call a “plural executive,” putting a check on the power of the Governor. New Mexico’s statutes and laws define the duties of the State Treasurer in literally hundreds of different places.
Duties of the Treasurer in New Mexico
For example, by law, the State Treasurer sits on the following boards and commissions:
- New Mexico State Board of Finance (BOF). The Board of Finance supervises the the fiscal and monetary affairs of the state.
- New Mexico State Investment Council (SIC). The SIC manages the state’s permanent endowment valued at $17 billion as of June 30, 2013, including the Land Grant Permanent Fund, the Tobacco Settlement Permanent Fund, and the Severance Tax Permanent Fund.
- New Mexico Educational Retirement Board (ERB). The ERB manages the retirement funds for public school teachers and other school employees.
- New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority (MFA). The MFA provides affordable financing for New Mexico homeowners.
- New Mexico Educational Assistance Foundation (EAF). Created by the State Educational Assistance Act, the EAF gives financial assistance to New Mexico college students. Also known as New Mexico Student Loans, the EAF is a non-profit corporation.
- Public Employees Retirement Association of New Mexico (PERA). The PERA manages the retirement funds of state, county and municipal employees in New Mexico as well as volunteer firefighters and members of the judiciary.
- New Mexico Retiree Health Care Authority (RHCA). This program provides group health insurance to public employers and covers thousands of retired public employees and their families.
- New Mexico Small Business Investment Corporation (SBIC). The SBIC makes loans and equity investments in small businesses in New Mexico in order to promote job creation.
- Renewable Energy Transmission Authority (RETA). The RETA has the power to issue bonds to finance the development of transmission facilities to carry electricity generated by renewable sources like solar and wind.