Vermont Treasurer Beth Pearce discusses latest developments in state finances

As the state’s banker and chief investment officer, the Vermont Treasurer’s Office oversees a wide range of financial duties, from investing state funds and issuing bonds to administering retirement systems and pension funds for state employees.

In this episode of Vote for Vermont, co-hosts Pat McDonald and Ben Kinsley interview Treasurer Beth Pearce about smart initiatives her office is working on, including financial literacy programs, secure retirement and health care plans, and cleaning up Vermont’s waterways. They also discuss a controversial idea her office is not working on: fossil fuel divestment.

Now in her fourth term as treasurer, Pearce says Vermont is leading the way in offering a voluntary Green Mountain Secure Retirement plan for 104,000 Vermonters who don’t have access to employer-sponsored retirement programs. The program works, according to Pearce, because the state pools together stable mutual funds for investment at no cost to the state — employee contributions will pay for the program set to begin January 2019.

On the issue of unfunded liabilities, Pearce says Vermont will fully fund its $1.8 billion pension liability by the year 2038. That achievement will be possible due to a series of financial decisions made by Pearce and her staff in collaboration with the Legislature and governor.

“All in, the changes that we’ve made are saving the taxpayers $1.3 billion over a 25-year period. That’s smart financing,” Pearce said.

Watch full episode: