With all of the snow that has hit the lake area today, I found some time to try and clean up the files on my computer. Some people hoard junk, I hoard files and photos. In that process, I stumbled upon the very first article I ever wrote for the Lake Sun: a profile piece on Clint Zweifel. It was my first day on the job, and I had just finished covering a golf tournament. My coworker was not in the office, so I was assigned the job of meeting with Mr. Zweifel and his aides for an interview. The article, however, was never published. I figured it might as well find its way somewhere.
With the 2012 election only five months away, Missouri State Treasurer Clint Zweifel is up for re-election.
Zweifel is Missouri’s 45th state treasurer, and the youngest one in more than a century. Under Zweifel, Missouri received a rating of AAA, the highest rating one can receive, and is one of only nine states that received it.
In his first year, he worked with Congress to pass his 2009 jobs and economic development legislative package, which passed unanimously, and was made into law.
The package’s centerpiece has lent 1 billion dollars through the Missouri Linked Deposit Program, which provides low-interest loans to small businesses and farmers, affecting more than 17,500 owners and farmers.
Zweifel says that his number one responsibility as the state treasurer is to keep Missouri safe and secure fiscally by trying to stimulate a healthy environment for small businesses and farms to take the risks and opportunities in starting a new business. Zweifel says that it is the businesses’ job to create jobs, but it is the government’s job to give them a strong environment to thrive in.
“We’re going to keep taxpayers’ money safe and secure, help small businesses and farms expand and support their growth,” said Zweifel. “We’re going to help families save for college, and do it better than almost every state in the nation. “
He says that one way to help create more jobs in Missouri is to ensure lower cost capital for businesses and to build a strong vibrant banking system. Over the course of his term, he has given over a billion dollars in loans to small businesses, affecting over 18,000 jobs and farms.
Zweifel believes that education is the key to developing a sustainable economy in Missouri, and is the sponsor of MOST, Missouri’s 529 College Savings Plan. This plan allows people to open an account with as little as 25 dollars, and contribute to it whenever they want, allowing families to save up whenever and however they want to.
Another job of the treasurer is to manage the state’s investments, overseeing 24 billion dollars in annual state revenues. To date, Zweifel has earned an additional 1.8 million dollars in interest on these investments for the state of Missouri.
One of the big issues Zweifel has brought to light is unclaimed properties. Unclaimed, or abandoned, properties are accounts in financial institutions and companies that have had no activity generated or contact with the owner for more than a year. This could include anything from cash, savings, checking accounts, stocks, and contents of safe deposit boxes.
In the course of the last four years, Zweifel has managed to return 117 million dollars of unclaimed property to over 362,000 accounts. By using a paperless process, they have managed to cut the normal waiting time in half. Once property is found, it now takes roughly 20 days to receive it. Missouri currently holds roughly 600 million dollars of unclaimed properties in an estimated 4 million accounts.
In Camden County alone, there is 1.7 million dollars unclaimed in nearly 18,000 accounts. To look for unclaimed property of your own, visit http://www.ShowMeMoney.com, an online database maintained by the Treasurer.
“Unclaimed property is a promise to the taxpayers,” said Zweifel. “It’s my responsibility to continue onward and try to return it to the owners.”
The office of state treasurer has a two term limit, so this could be his last. His opponent, Cole McNary (R), is the current Representative of Missouri’s 86th District, which he was elected to in 2009.
“I’m passionate about doing the right thing for Missourians,” said Zweifel. “I’m willing to set politics aside and get things done, to get past bi-partisan gridlocks. I think that is the most important quality you can bring to the job.”