What Is a State Treasury?

Jessica Reed
Jessica Reed
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone
Businesswoman talking on a mobile phone

In the United States of America, a state treasury is a specific branch found in every state government. This department is responsible for overseeing the state's current economic standing and raising money to help improve quality of living throughout the state. Contrary to popular belief, the state treasury does not collect taxes. This is the responsibility of the state's Department of Revenue. Instead, the treasury earns interest from selling bonds and from other income sources, such as money paid on speeding tickets.

State treasuries are different from the U.S. Department of the Treasury, though their roles are similar. State treasuries focus on money management for one particular state, while the U.S. Department of the Treasury exists to manage the country's budget. Roles and duties mimic each other, but the U.S. Treasury must deal with financial matters on a nationwide, not statewide, level.

Heading the state treasury is the state treasurer. This person is either elected by the people of the state every four years or is chosen by the state's governor, depending on the state's specific laws. If the state were one large family, the state treasurer would be the head of the family's finances. He plans the current budget, monitors debt levels, makes plans to pay off debt while expanding statewide resources, and determines the best investment options to increase profits.

Funding from the state treasury goes toward public schools, parks, roads, and a plethora of other state-funded amenities. States' needs are ever changing, and the treasury works to match these needs. Green energy, for example, is becoming a growing concern throughout the U.S., and state treasuries work to implement eco-friendly services, such as recycling centers and public transportation.

The most vital role of the state treasury is providing for the state's people. By buying bonds and contributing to public services, people give back to their communities. The state treasury, in turn, ensures this money goes back into the community in the most efficient ways that will also help the most people. It is a continuous cycle necessary for a state to thrive.

Finally, the state treasury is also responsible for providing tax-exempt financing offers to a variety of organizations and individuals. Student loans and the cost of starting a non-profit organization can have unaffordable interest rates, but a state treasury can choose to offer more affordable loan options. The state profits from the interest made on these loans and the recipients profit from receiving affordable loans they can use to improve their futures or fund businesses that will help others in need.

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