Alabama treasurer speaks to Atmore

Published 3:10 am Monday, January 31, 2005

By By Lee Weyhrich
To Alabama State Treasurer Kay Ivey, a visit to Escambia county is like a visit to the old neighborhood. "Atmore is not far from my home in Wilcox County, in Camden," she said in a recent interview with The Atmore Advance. "It's kind of like visiting home in a way."
Early on in Ivey's career she visited Atmore when Patricia McKenzie was mayor and has returned several times since to speak at functions and to help local civic groups. "I have spoken with Leadership Atmore on several occasions and I am scheduled to talk to them again in March," she said.
Ivey was the guest speaker at the Atmore Chamber of Commerce's Banquet Thursday where she spoke about her philosophies of state government and her desire for small counties, such as Escambia to be involved with state government.
"Us small towns and rural counties, we count too, so count us in,'" she exclaimed.
Ivey has made it her goal for government to be accountable for it's spending, for people to be informed on government budgeting and spending, for people to invest wisely, and for people to be educated in every way, she said in her speech Thursday. "It is the peoples treasury, it is the people's business," she said.
She has cut expenses in this state by streamlining the way the state spends money. "We saved $25,000 per year in postage by sending postcards," she said.
Ivey also talked about automating processes that were time consuming and problematic. "If you work well with people you can make some changes," she said. "For the first time you will see an actual statement for the people."
Ivey spoke about the unclaimed property program and what it means to the people of Alabama. "There are 1.8 million people on that list; if you're on that list you have at least $25 dollars coming to you."
Ivey is also pushing a new education program called the 529 college savings program, which is similar to the PACT program currently used by the state. "The 529 college savings program would pay for everything needed for going off to college short of a new car," she said.
The PACT program is a program where parents can begin paying for their children's college education when they are younger, based on the cost of tuition at that time. After the plan is paid the child can go to any state college regardless of the tuition at that school at that time.
Another of Ivey's major points was financial literacy, the ability for every Alabamian to have a basic sense of what is going on with state finances as well as how to manage personal finances. "Financial literacy has long been a passion of mine," she said.
Ivey added that her web site has some educational materials that can help with a basic understanding of finance.
Ivey believes that Alabama's financial problems can be fixed over time. "It is possible but it is going to take the will of the people to be informed," she said.
Ivey put forth the sense that she really enjoys her job and concluded by voicing her love of it. "I hope by now you get a sense that I enjoy being your state treasurer," she exclaimed. "You have put Br'er Rabbit in the briar patch."
According to Ivey her future political plans are to run for reelection in the 2006 cycle.

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