An open letter to the citizens of Wyoming
The Wyoming County Treasurer’s Association is opposed to Amendment A and asks you to vote AGAINST the ballot proposition which would allow local governments — cities, counties, schools, special districts, etc. — to invest your money in the stock market.
County treasurers believe the primary objective of local government investment activities is Safety. We make investment decisions to ensure the preservation of the dollars entrusted to us. We do this with the understanding that the investments will achieve a lower yield than higher-risk investments, like stocks. Current law wisely restricts local governments to low-risk, fixed-income investments like certificates of deposit, federal agency bonds and U.S. treasuries in order to ensure that your money is safe until it is put to use.
Amendment A seeks to provide for higher yields on the investment of your tax dollars by allowing them to be invested in the stock market, sacrificing safety for increased returns. The volatility of the market means that losses are inevitable, and County Treasurers believe any loss of the funds entrusted to us is unacceptable.
It’s true that the State of Wyoming invests a portion of the Permanent Mineral Trust Fund in stocks and equities, wherein the first half of 2022 they experienced a loss of 8 percent. Of course, the stock market will eventually recover, and those losses will be regained as long as the funds remain invested in the stock market. The State of Wyoming can take this approach to seek higher yields because they are managing a permanent fund. The only way to mitigate the volatility of the stock market is to keep funds there long-term or permanently.
As fiscal conservatives, the county treasurers do not believe that local governments should be retaining permanent funds. While some levels of reserves are prudent, they should be built thoughtfully and always with a goal in mind. In short, we believe you pay your taxes and expect your leaders to safeguard your dollars and use them for their intended purpose: providing services to citizens.
The investment of public funds is rooted in a system of trust, and we are very aware of your expectations. To that end, the safety of your money should be the priority, over yield and other political considerations.
We should all heed the words of the late State Treasurer Joe Meyer, who said, “If you get too greedy in this investment world, someone bites you. This is a bad environment in which to say, ‘let’s take more risk.’”
We urge you to vote AGAINST Amendment A.
Emily Paravicini, Sublette County Treasurer, on behalf of the Wyoming County Treasurer’s Association