Posted by Paula Olson on Aug 16, 2019
       Before the official bell ringing, some toe -apping music emanated from the presidential podium, followed by the bell dinging, followed by President Bill Potter opening the meeting. We couldn’t quite place the music but we woke up and were ready to attend. Scott Buser gave a nice Invocation and Jim Weinand led us in the Pledge of Alliance.
      Meeting set up was done by Ward Fletcher, Duncan Cook, Bob Hammar. Bud Montgomery manned the Paul Harris table where he collected $350. Mark Edgecomb sold raffle tickets sales and was Sergeant at Arms; Paula Olson was bulletin writer; and Troy Wilcox was the photographer.
 
       
       We had zippo visiting Rotarians and zippo guests. There was no Sunshine Report and no updates.
 
        President Potter reminded everyone that next week the District Governor Maureen (Mo) Fritz-Roberts would be visiting and he expected us to be ship shape (whatever that means) and on our best behavior. He said no cut offs or flip flops, visible flasks, or cursing. I suppose that also means no belching but he didn’t mention it specifically. Speaking of District Governor, nominations are open for the term of 2022 – 2023 and Prez Bill said it was time Mark Edgecomb stepped up. Other announcements included the Nourish meal packing event next Wednesday and volunteers are welcome. President Bill encouraged anyone interested in becoming a board member of Community Investment Corporation to contact him. August 21st is the rededication of the Child Abuse Center at Mary Bridge Hospital and August 24th to 25th  is the Courage Troy reminded us about Beerfest happening at Ski Lake Park. Wear your favorite tie dye outfits as we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of Woodstock.
      Pres Bill turned on his green light, which he cutely calls “Deposit Time” aka fine (not fine as in wonderful but fine as in pay up) time. Mark Blanchard paid up to celebrate his new Suburban, which is really a work car and not a party car. To jolly us up a little, Pres Bill told a funny. It went something like this:
     There was a football game between the Predators and the Insects. The first half, the Insects were getting clobbered. At half time, the coach talked up the Insects and told them to get their act together. In the third quarter, the centipede tripped up the Predators and scored. Next quarter, the centipede popped the Predators and scored again! The coach called a time out. “Where were you in the first half?” he asked the centipede. “Taping up my ankles in the locker room!” Hahaha! As we dried our tears of laughter, Dave Coleman paid $20, which he reduced to current value of $10 because he went to Couer d’Alene to their cabin and took the boat. It had problems and they had to rent a pontoon boat which they enjoyed, but it was pricey. Plus he had some serious investment in repairs for his own boat. Bud Montgomery paid $57.50 and a jar of tuna to celebrate his tuna fishing and camping trip on the Olympic Peninsula. The fish fry to be announced at a later date. And the green light faded out.
 
      Jan Gee introduced our speaker, Washington State 's 23rd Treasurer, Duane Davidson. Duane hails from logging and dairy farming territory as he was born in Carnation. He is a CPA and a four term treasurer of Benton County from 2003 – 2014. He is a long time Kiwanis member but we won’t hold that against him. We were excited to welcome him as we’ve never heard from our State Treasurer before. Duane also lives on his 40 foot Bayview boat in Olympia to comply with state law, while maintaining his home in Kennewick. He loves being able to walk to work.
 
 
Above: Presenter, Washington State Treasurer Duane Davidson
 
      Duane told us that he got his first CPA job working with all dairy farmers as he was the only member of his firm that could handle the smell. He worked at the State Auditor’s Office and then ran for Benton County Treasurer. When the Republican Party approached him to run for the state office, he faced a field of five people. After campaigning on the west side for a week, tragedy struck at home and his wife passed away unexpectedly. Duane planned to pull out of the race but his three adult children sat him down and did an intervention to keep him in the race. To sweeten the deal, his then 17-year-old daughter said she’d be his campaign manager. He told her that he’d have to sleep on it. The next day, seeing that she was very serious, he said okay. She immediately googled “how to be a campaign manager.” She started speaking to groups of 200 to 300 people and he was told she did a great job – better than he did!
      Turning to reporting on the state coffers, Duane said that our level of debt is a big concern. We are the 6th highest debt per capita in the country and just recently we moved to 8th position. We are ahead of California. We have lots of construction with big dollars being spent. We’ve borrowed too much and we need to make fiscal policy changes. Duane drafted a 25 page booklet entitled the 2018 Debt Affordability Study that can be found at tre.wa.gov/DAS and he encouraged us to read it. It had never been written and is getting some notice around the country. It is targeted to the legislators as an overview of the state’s current debt levels, how we got there and recommendations on how to better address them.
      Overall, our economy is good. Duane had two strong opinions. 1) He is very opposed to a state income tax. Other states without an income tax include Texas, Florida, and South Dakota who are all doing well without a tax. He believes that we have better prosperity without such a tax. 2) He is very opposed to a state bank. A group of progressive legislators want to start a state bank. Only North Dakota has a state bank. The idea is we will keep our own interest and borrow our way to prosperity. Duane strongly disagrees. First, it takes a lot of money to start a bank. The plan is to take the money from the Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) which has about $18.5 billion. It is a pot of short term cash for local cities. It is other people’s money. They also want to take money from the state pension fund which has about $105 billion and is only 88% funded. This is better than most states but not ideal. It should be closer to 100% and can be 105%, which is rare. The stated reason for the bank is to use the money to build schools and fund student loans. Duane thinks there are other ways, like bonds, to build schools, and if you look at the mess the federal government has with student loans, we’d be crazy to go into that as bad business and too risky.
      Duane talked about his goal to join other state treasurers to address the cannabis banking issue. Because of the federal regulations, cannabis sellers can’t deposit their cash in banks. Only three credit unions and two banks will take it in Washington and they do so at a big risk and charge big fees. Cannabis business is a big source of cash and a big public safety issue because of the cash and the risk of robbery. He told a story about a local dealer that used Duane's address for deliveries. A young man came to Duane's door at Thanksgiving where his family was all gathered together. When Duane answered the door, the young man had noticed Duane’s car with the State Treasurer sign on it. In fear, the man asked Duane if he was at the wrong house. He only wanted to buy a joint. Duane assured him that he was indeed at the wrong house.
      Another one of Duane’s projects is financial literacy, particularly for young people. His website has 70 modules in English and Spanish helping people gain better financial skills. This was funded by closing a Seattle office that was rarely used. He’s also putting together a directory of grants and other funds available for citizens. These are difficult to locate and as a result are unused. This was launched a few months ago to good reviews. Duane works to run his office to make resources available to local governments and citizens.
Duane took questions from members. In response to making financial education a school requirement, Duane talked about how difficult it was to get the Office of Public Instruction to participate in supporting his efforts. Back in the day, we’d take home ec classes where we’d get some basic financial education. Those classes don’t exist anymore but because of the internet, it is more important to educate kids, particularly at-risk kids that have little or no parental guidance.
Thank you, Duane for a very interesting overview of a little known state office.   
 
 
Raffle winner was Wynn Hoffman and he pulled a white one for $5.00. Better luck next time, Wynn!
 
And yes: Read this bulletin and tell Greg Rediske so you can get a make-up for a missed meeting. Additionally, if you shop online, please do so at Amazon Smile so a portion of your purchase can be allocated to Lakewood Rotary.
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