Utah State Treasurer
David Damschen

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Treasurer Damschen announces record-breaking Permanent State School Fund distribution to Utah schools

Posted on: October 1st, 2019

Funds go to schools for programs chosen by parents, teachers and principals at no cost to taxpayers

SALT LAKE CITY – October 1, 2019 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced that the Permanent State School Fund will make the largest-ever distribution to Utah schools next year.

Schools are slated to receive a record $88.83 million from the Permanent State School Fund in July 2020 – a 7.5% increase from this year’s distribution of $82.66 million and a 20% increase from last year’s distribution of $74 million.

Under the School LAND Trust Program, investment earnings from the Permanent State School Fund are distributed to every school in the state based on a per pupil formula. Each school’s community council, comprised of parents, teachers and the principal, annually determines the greatest academic needs of their students and prepares plans to improve student academic performance with their portion of distributions from the fund.

“I applaud the outstanding work of the School and Institutional Trust Lands Administration (SITLA) in administering trust lands and the solid investment decisions of the School and Institutional Trust Funds Office (SITFO), which maximize the impact of the Permanent State School Fund. Their efforts, along with the work of the recently-formed Land Trusts Protection and Advocacy Office, benefit Utah’s education programs now and for years to come,” Treasurer Damschen said. “Every dollar we earn through prudent administration of the land and investment assets is a dollar in school funding not paid by the Utah taxpayer.”

Since SITLA’s formation in 1994, the agency has generated nearly $1.96 billion in proceeds to help grow the Permanent School Fund and other perpetual endowments.

“At SITLA, we strive to administer trust lands as effectively as possible for Utah’s schoolchildren, generating revenue from energy, real estate and surface development on the 3.3 million acres of school trust lands,” SITLA Director David Ure said. “The best part of my job is visiting schools and seeing the positive ways schools use their distributions to create better educational experiences for students.”

Legislation enacted in 2014 created SITFO as an independent state agency tasked with the investment of these funds. SITFO is overseen by a five-member Board of Trustees comprised of investment professionals and chaired by the state treasurer.

“The SITFO team is proud to be a part of the larger effort to generate wealth for Utah’s schools,” SITFO Director and Chief Investment Officer Peter Madsen said. “It is rewarding to see our diversification efforts take shape and even more rewarding to help make an impact in Utah classrooms.”

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Treasurer Damschen, local officials work to reunite $2 million in lost property with Carbon County residents

Posted on: September 6th, 2019

PRICE, Utah – September 6, 2019 – After watching a story about Utah’s Unclaimed Property Division on the local news, Helper resident Trinnaty Barnes’ stepmom visited mycash.utah.gov.  She discovered that the State was safeguarding a significant sum of money for her stepdaughter.

“It turns out, after getting run over by a car several years ago, I was owed a $5,100 insurance settlement that for some reason I didn’t receive,” Barnes said.  “I was totally surprised, and skeptical, when my stepmom texted that she found my name on the State’s website. I thought it was a scam and called her to verify that it was really her who texted me.”

After verifying the legitimacy of mycash.utah.gov, Barnes spent about 10 minutes entering her information on the secure government website. Her claim was processed, and she received a check in the mail in early August.

“The whole process was really easy. Everyone I talked to at the Unclaimed Property Division was really nice and very helpful,” Barnes said. “Everyone should take a few minutes to search the website to see if they have lost money.  I had no idea I had so much money waiting to be claimed, and it has made is huge difference in my life.” Barnes used the money to start a teeth whitening business.

The Utah Unclaimed Property Division is currently safeguarding 19,189 properties totaling nearly $2 million for Carbon County residents. When a business owes money to an individual it cannot find, it remits those funds to the state’s Unclaimed Property Division after three years of non-contact with the owner. Unclaimed property comes from sources, including dormant bank accounts, overpaid medical bills, uncashed checks, safe deposit box contents and unpaid insurance benefits.

“Our mission is to reunite lost property with rightful owners, and our team works hard to get money where it belongs – into the pockets of rightful owners,” Treasurer David Damschen said.

Treasurer Damschen is meeting with local elected officials in Price on September 6 as part of an initiative to reunite unclaimed property with rightful owners in rural parts of the state.  The group will comb through a list of names of individuals and businesses in Carbon County with unclaimed property to help the Division get the money back where it belongs. 

“We have had a lot of success with this approach in the past. Local officials are connected to the community and often recognize the people on the list or their family members,” Treasurer Damschen said.  “They play an invaluable role in getting claims initiated and money returned to rightful owners.”

While the outreach function of the office is effective, the Division still primarily relies on individuals going online to see if they have unclaimed property.

“One in five Utahns has lost money. Everyone should go online, find and claim their property – and check for family, friends and deceased relatives as well. It’s better than playing the lottery, and the odds are much higher,” Unclaimed Property Administrator Dennis Johnston said. 

For more information and to search property, visit mycash.utah.gov or call 801-715-3300.

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Treasurer Damschen announces record-breaking $29.3 million in unclaimed cash returned to Utahns in FY2019

Posted on: August 13th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – August 13, 2019 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced that the Utah Unclaimed Property Division reunited a record-breaking $29.3 million in lost property with rightful owners in fiscal year 2019 (July 2018 – June 2019).

When a business owes money to an individual it cannot find, it remits those funds to the state’s Unclaimed Property Division after three years of non-contact with the owner. Last year, the Division received 382,349 unclaimed properties totaling $54.8 million. Unclaimed property comes from sources, such as dormant bank accounts, overpaid medical bills, uncashed checks, safe deposit box contents and unpaid insurance benefits.

“Our mission is to reunite lost property with rightful owners, and our team strives to consistently reach for record levels of unclaimed property payouts,” Treasurer Damschen said. “By leveraging technology and implementing aggressive outreach campaigns, our efforts are literally paying off for thousands of Utahns.”

The Division can attribute part of its success in recent years to a new outreach approach, wherein unclaimed property staff reaches out to individuals and businesses to advise them of their lost money, instead of relying solely on drawing owners to the Division’s website to search for their properties. Additionally, the Division has implemented technology to increase efficiencies and provide improved user experience, including a new unclaimed property management system.

“Despite our accomplishments, we still take in more property each year than we can return,” Unclaimed Property Administrator Dennis Johnston said. “One in five Utahns has lost money. Everyone should go online, find and claim their property – and check for family, friends and deceased relatives as well. It’s easier than playing the lottery, and the odds are better.”

“Even if you have searched for unclaimed property in the past, you should check again,” Treasurer Damschen said. “We might have received additional property since you last visited our website.”

For more information and to search property, visit mycash.utah.gov or call 801-715-3300.

Utah student’s national second place financial literacy essay focuses on ethical investing for refugee aid

Posted on: June 25th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – June 25, 2019 –Treasurer David Damschen today announced that Skyline High School student, Abby Bowler, placed second in the high school division of the national InvestWrite essay competition. The competition tests students’ knowledge of concepts learned while playing The Stock Market Game, such as portfolio construction, capital markets, stocks, bonds and mutual funds.

The spring 2019 InvestWrite prompt for high school students, grades 9-12, focused on sustainable investing and creating a hypothetical ESG (environmental, social and governance) fund that would deliver long-term social and financial returns. Nearly 1,800 essays were submitted in the high school division.

Bowler, a former student in Syd Lott’s financial literacy class at Skyline High School, submitted her essay proposing an investment portfolio to “support refugees and asylum seekers worldwide.” Bowler’s essay took second place in the national high school division and first place in the state high school division. The SIFMA Foundation has specific scoring guidelines for judging the student essays, which can be found here.

Bowler’s inspiration to create an ESG fund that aids refugees came from “the high number of individuals and families worldwide who are struggling to rebuild their lives or who are still facing violence and discrimination.” Her background in competitive swimming also played a role in her essay topic. Bowler said, “Last year, I organized a swim clinic for refugee children in Salt Lake, and that experience sparked my interest in the worldwide refugee crisis. I think creating an ESG fund that allows investors to play a role in helping refugees rebuild their lives, while also making a profit, encompasses what sustainable and ethical investing is all about.”

Treasurer Damschen presented Bowler and Lott with prizes on June 25 in the Treasurer’s Office at the State Capitol.

“The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite competitions pique student interest in important concepts taught in the classroom by adding an element of competition,” Treasurer Damschen said.  “I appreciate the incredible efforts of teachers and students to improve financial knowledge, and I look forward to the opportunity to celebrate their success.”

“I am excited to be a national winner in the InvestWrite competition, and I have to thank my financial literacy teacher, Syd Lott, who encouraged all of his students to participate in the contest. Writing this essay helped me realize the incredible impact investing can have when it is focused on positive social change,” Bowler said.

The winners of the state InvestWrite competition are:

High School Division: Grades 9-12

First Place – Abby Bowler

Advisor: Syd Lott, Skyline High School

Second Place – Lucas Zagal

Advisor: Syd Lott, Skyline High School

Third Place – Angelina Skedros

Advisor: Syd Lott, Skyline High School

Junior/Middle School Division: Grades 6-8

First Place – Caleb Barrow

Advisor: Loren Brinkerhoff, Legacy Jr. High School

Second Place – Jocelyn Martinez

Advisor: Loren Brinkerhoff, Legacy Jr. High School

Third Place – Brody White

Advisor: Loren Brinkerhoff, Legacy Jr. High School

Elementary Division: Grades 4-5

First Place­ – Jesse Peterson

Advisor: Rosanne Porter, Lincoln Elementary School

Second Place – Lucas Norton

Advisor: Rosanne Porter, Lincoln Elementary School

Third Place – Kayla Willardson

Advisor: Rosanne Porter, Lincoln Elementary School

For more information on InvestWrite, visit: https://www.investwrite.org/.

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Utah students to be honored at The Stock Market Game™ Awards Banquet on May 10

Posted on: May 9th, 2019

State Treasurer David Damschen to recognize 37 Utah students and teachers for winning statewide financial education competition

SALT LAKE CITY – May 9, 2019 – Students, teachers, government officials and local business leaders will celebrate the 37 winning students and teachers of The Stock Market Game™ spring 2019 statewide competition during an awards banquet on May 10. The banquet, hosted by Utah State Treasurer David Damschen, will feature student speeches, information about the competition and opportunities to learn more about financial responsibility.

Lincoln Elementary student Bergin Reilly’s team placed first in the elementary school division with a total final value of $168,294.74, over $38K more than the next highest ranking team in any division.  Reilly said, “The game taught us to be patient and talk about what to buy and the reasons we believed the stock could help. When we talked to each other, we had to make important decisions using the problem-solving strategy.”

The Stock Market Game exposes youth to the stock market and gives teachers an opportunity to teach students important investing principles, such as diversification, portfolio construction, compounding growth and risk management. Utah County Academy of Science student Ashley Black said, “I am fortunate to have several family members who enjoy investing, and I learn so much by watching their choices and tactics. However, I know that many of my peers didn’t have any experience with the stock market when the game began, which is why I think this simulation is so valuable.”

The Stock Market Game is an exciting curriculum complement to many subjects, including personal finance, math, social studies, economics, business education, college and career awareness, computer tech and marketing.  The second place team in the middle school division played the game as a component of their digital literacy class. “We used this game as a tool to increase our understanding of using Google Sheets, as well as improving our digital literacy and communication skills,” Vista Heights Middle School student Jillian Smith said. 

 Last fall, the Utah Office of State Treasurer assumed the responsibility of administering the game and the complementary InvestWrite competition, a writing contest that builds off of concepts learned through the Stock Market Game. Treasurer Damschen recently recognized the Utah winners of the Fall 2018 InvestWrite competition at their schools during assemblies and pizza parties.

“The Stock Market Game and InvestWrite competitions pique student interest in important concepts taught in the classroom by adding an element of competition,” Treasurer Damschen said.  “I appreciate the incredible efforts of teachers and students to improve financial knowledge, and I look forward to the opportunity to celebrate their success.”

The awards banquet will be held at noon in the Wasatch Room on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. Registration check-in will be at 11:30 a.m., and the ceremony will begin at 12:35 p.m. This event is open to the media.  Due to capacity limitations, other guests may attend by invitation only.

You can find a list of the winners of the Stock Market Game and InvestWrite competition at: https://treasurer.utah.gov/financial-literacy/stock-market-game/recent-winners/.

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Treasurer Damschen announces $54.8 million new lost property now online for claim

Posted on: April 8th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – April 8, 2019 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced that the Utah Unclaimed Property Division received more than $54.8 million in lost property at the end of 2018. This property comes from sources, such as dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, safe deposit box contents and unpaid insurance benefits.

“We encourage Utahns to check mycash.utah.gov every year as they file their taxes to see if they have lost property to claim. We receive tens of millions of dollars in new unclaimed property each year, so the odds are good that you or a relative have unclaimed property, even if you haven’t in the past,” Treasurer Damschen said.

A property is by law considered abandoned and must be turned over to the state if the holder of the property has not had contact with the owner for three years. Property holders remitted 382,349 new properties to the Unclaimed Property Division of the State Treasurer’s Office by the November 1, 2018 annual reporting deadline, along with the names and last-known addresses of owners. The Division currently safeguards more than $370 million in unclaimed property.

“Despite our aggressive education campaigns, many people still don’t search for property because they don’t think they could have lost anything. But that is exactly what we need them to do,” Unclaimed Property Division Administrator Dennis Johnston said. “There are many ways to lose property. People might move and forget they had a deposit with the utility company, or they might be beneficiaries of life insurance policies they didn’t know existed. Checking to see if you or your friends and relatives have lost property is simple, easy and something everyone should do at least once a year.”

Unclaimed property is usually money, but the Unclaimed Property Division also regularly receives items from abandoned safe deposit boxes that can be claimed. The Division has a vault full of interesting items like coins, baseball cards, art and photographs. These items are periodically sold via auction, and the proceeds remain available to be claimed by the rightful owner.

Individuals may submit a claim for properties of deceased relatives if they can prove they are the rightful heir. In any case where there is more than one heir, they can claim their portion of the property.

For more information and to search property, visit mycash.utah.gov or call 801-715-3300. 

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Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education kicks off year of savings with Utah Saves Week

Posted on: February 25th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY – February 25, 2019 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced that Utah is kicking off a savings-focused year with “Utah Saves Week” and urges Utahns to automate their savings.

Treasurer Damschen chairs the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education, an organization comprised of more than 50 private and public entities that share a common mission to increase the financial capability of Utahns.

“A primary objective of the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education is to support programs that empower individuals and families to achieve economic stability, opportunity and upward mobility,” Treasurer Damschen said. “Utah Saves Week serves as a good reminder for Utahns to automate their savings, while helping connect them with free information, tools and resources to help them attain their savings goals and navigate an increasingly complex financial world.”

Utah Saves is a tool that helps Utahns hold themselves accountable to their savings goals and receive free professional advice from online resources. Utahns are encouraged to pledge to save online at utahsaves.org to receive savings advice tailored specifically to their savings goals.

“You can start small with your savings goals and habits.  You just need to start somewhere,” Utah Saves Coordinator and AAA Fair Credit Foundation Executive Director Martha Wunderli said. “Some examples of savings goals include saving for a vacation, paying off a debt, purchasing a home and building your retirement nest egg. Creating good savings habits can have life-changing results over the long-term.”

Treasurer Damschen and the Council’s mascot, a dollar bill named Bill, will join Senator Dan Hemmert during floor time on Monday, February 25 and Representative Jeff Moss during floor time on Wednesday, February 27 for a reading of the Governor’s “Utah Saves Week” declaration.  

Utah Saves Week is February 25 – March 2, 2019. The Office of State Treasurer will share savings tips and information throughout the week on the Office’s Facebook and Twitter.  Utah Saves will also promote useful information and contests throughout the week on social media.

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Utah maintains AAA credit rating from all major rating agencies, saves taxpayer dollars on transportation projects

Posted on: January 15th, 2019

SALT LAKE CITY (January 15, 2019) – Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Treasurer David Damschen today announced that S&P Global, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings have reaffirmed the State’s AAA credit rating – the highest rating a state can receive.

“Utah once again stands out as a leader in the nation for its broad fiscal and economic success, which can be largely credited to our conservative approach to budgeting, debt management and other financial policies,” Gov. Herbert said. “In Utah, we are thorough and collaborative in our fiscal management. We have worked closely with the legislature to adhere to the principles of fiscal discipline and budgetary restraint, making our state one of only a handful to receive a AAA rating by all three rating agencies. I applaud the Utah team for this collective achievement.”

Agencies base their ratings on a range of financial, economic, managerial and institutional factors. Utah’s history of continuous AAA bond ratings dates back to 1965, when S&P initiated its rating system. The State’s AAA rating with Moody’s commenced in 1973 and with Fitch Ratings in 1992.

“We’re seeing overwhelming demand from investors for our bonds,” Treasurer Damschen said. “This is in clear response to the strength of our credit, which allows us to finance large projects at the lowest interest rates available in the market and ultimately save big for Utah taxpayers.”

The rating affirmations coincide with today’s legislatively authorized $128 million general obligation (GO) bond transaction, which will finance transportation projects. During the December special legislative session, the governor and legislature jointly approved additional appropriations for the prison project, which eliminated the need to borrow for the prison project this year and significantly reduced today’s transaction from the initially-planned $375 million – increasing savings on prison project costs.

As cited in the rating reports, the agencies’ rationales for Utah’s strong ratings include:

  • Strong governmental framework, with a constitutional requirement to maintain a balanced budget and a fiscal policy that allows for changes to the revenue structure and program spending by a simple majority of the legislature.
  • Conservative fiscal and debt management policies that include constitutional or statutory limits on appropriation growth and debt issuance to keep debt levels low and quickly amortizing, despite demands of population growth.
  • Continued leadership in the management and funding of long-term liabilities for pensions and other post-retirement benefits, leading to low fixed costs relative to its peers and contributing to the state’s good budgetary flexibility.
  • Successful and timely action when addressing budgetary imbalances.
  • Reserve funds that accumulate based on a statutorily determined formula.
  • Job growth across most major sectors, including solid growth in trade, transportation and utilities – the state’s largest employment sector.
  • An unemployment rate that is typically well below the national average.
  • Annual real GDP growth that has continuously surpassed the nation’s since 2013 and is expected to continue to outperform the nation due to a favorable industry mix and strong population growth.

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Utah students to be honored at The Stock Market Game Awards Banquet on January 4

Posted on: January 3rd, 2019

State Treasurer David Damschen to recognize 32 Utah students and teachers for winning statewide financial education competition

SALT LAKE CITY – January 3, 2019 – Students, teachers, government officials and local business leaders will celebrate the 32 winning students and teachers of The Stock Market Game™ fall 2018 statewide competition during an awards banquet on January 4. The banquet, hosted by Utah State Treasurer David Damschen, will feature student speeches, information about the competition and opportunities to learn more about financial responsibility.

Northridge High School student Alexis Aguirre’s team placed first in the high school division. “My favorite part of the game was getting an opportunity to invest into a real-time market simulation – getting to see if the decisions we made would make or lose us money,” she said. “We learned how society plays a key factor to investing, how to invest during a bullish market, deciding when was the right time to buy and sell a stock and competing against a lot of other high schoolers.”

The winning team in the elementary division based some of their most significant investment decisions on the news, which helped them claim their victory. “Our favorite parts of the Stock Market Game were the tension and the competition of the last few weeks, as we climbed up the rankings and passed the previous first place team in the last few days of the competition,” Nibley Elementary students MaCade Brown, Kaid Johnson and Brooklyn Bishop said. “We also improved our teamwork and decision-making skills. It was hard to decide on whether or not to sell our stocks. We had a terrific time learning about companies and how and why they are traded on the stock market.”

The Utah Office of State Treasurer recently assumed the responsibility of administering the game from the Utah Division of Securities. Complementary to this new charge, Treasurer Damschen chairs the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education, an organization comprised of more than 50 private and public entities that share a common mission to increase the financial capability of Utahns.

“A primary objective of the Utah Council on Financial and Economic Education is to advocate for and strengthen financial education in Utah schools. The Stock Market Game piques student interest in some of the important concepts taught in the classroom by adding an element of competition,” Treasurer Damschen said. “I appreciate the incredible efforts of teachers and students to improve financial knowledge and look forward to the opportunity to celebrate their success.”

The awards banquet will be held at noon in the Wasatch Room on the 10th floor of the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. The ceremony will begin at 12:35 p.m. This event is open to the media. Due to capacity limitations, other guests may attend by invitation only.

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Treasurer Damschen announces new unclaimed property system, enhanced website

Posted on: October 9th, 2018

Unclaimed Property Division reunites $24.4 million with rightful owners in FY 2018

SALT LAKE CITY – October 9, 2018 – Utah State Treasurer David Damschen today announced the implementation of a new unclaimed property management system and an enhanced website that incorporate the latest advancements in technology to provide claimants and holders with the simplest, most secure experience possible.

“The newly redesigned website makes it even easier for Utahns to search for unclaimed property and for holders to report unclaimed property to the State,” Treasurer Damschen said. “Some of the new features include an enhanced search function for more comprehensive searches, the ability to upload claim documentation directly to the website, improved online payments, manual online reporting for small reports and stronger protections to ensure security of personal information.”

Last year, the Unclaimed Property Division put $24.4 million back into the pockets of rightful owners and processed 19,705 claims – that is four times as many claims as 10 years ago. In recent years, the Division has paid more than 50 percent of claims in just one week. That percentage should increase with the new system.

“During the past several years, we have placed significant focus on leveraging technology to make record levels of unclaimed property payouts to rightful owners,” Unclaimed Property Administrator Dennis Johnston said. “The new KAPS system and enhanced website will take us to the next level, improving the claims process and enabling us to reunite more unclaimed property with rightful owners.”

The Division received more than $38.4 million in lost property at the end of 2017. This property comes from sources, such as dormant bank accounts, uncashed checks, safe deposit box contents and unpaid insurance benefits.

For more information and to search property, visit mycash.utah.gov or call 801-715-3300.

Video: https://youtu.be/NAA38ZYZrPM.

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