A Joint Convention of the 110th General Assembly on Wednesday reelected David H. Lillard, Jr. by acclamation to a fifth term as Tennessee state treasurer. The state treasurer is a constitutional officer elected by the General Assembly for a two-year term. In his official capacity, Treasurer Lillard oversees the Tennessee Treasury Department and its more than 270 employees. The Treasury Department internally manages over $55 billion in state and local government funds.
Treasurer Lillard has championed issues of financial literacy and strives daily find new ways to improve the financial lives of Tennesseans. Since first elected in 2009, he has worked with the Treasury Department to provide Tennesseans with financial tools needed to lead a better quality of life. Among his first steps as treasurer, he worked with the General Assembly to create the Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission and the TNStars 529 College Savings Program. A top direct-sold college saving plan, TNStars has been nationally ranked for investment performance consistently since 2014. The Tennessee Financial Literacy Commission has worked to incorporate the nationally recognized Financial Fitness for Life curriculum into K-8 classrooms across the state. This has been achieved by training more than 3,500 Tennessee teachers, pilot programs with three Tennessee school systems and by offering an online interactive financial literacy game as a free resource.
Last year, Treasury opened ABLE TN, Tennessee’s own Achieving A Better Life Experience program, a new resource to help those with disabilities plan and save for the future. Tennessee is one of the first states in the nation to offer these savings accounts. In just seven months, more than 680 people have opened ABLE TN accounts, and have saved more than $2.4 million to help individuals with physical and/or mental disabilities pay for future qualified expenses.
Under Treasurer Lillard’s leadership, the Treasury Department proposed, and the 108th General Assembly enacted, reforms to the Tennessee Consolidated Retirement Systems (TCRS), the state defined benefit pension plan. These reforms created a hybrid plan with cost controls effective for state, higher education and K-12 teachers hired on or after July 1, 2014. The restructured plan has been recognized as an aggressive, innovative reform that substantially reduces the costs to the state while providing a sufficient and sustainable benefit for State and higher education employees, K-12 public school teachers and employees of electing local government entities. At the end of the FY16 fiscal year, TCRS was valued at more than $43.3 billion and recognized by major credit ratings agencies as one of the highest funded public employee defined benefit retirement systems in the nation.
“It has been an honor to serve our state as Treasurer for the last eight years. With the support of the General Assembly, the Treasury Department has been able to accomplish many great things for our state,” said Treasurer Lillard. “I am honored to serve a fifth term and grateful to the General Assembly for the opportunity to continue to serve Tennessee as a faithful steward of our state’s financial and human resources.”
Treasurer Lillard is an active advocate nationally on the importance of sound management on financial issues. He is the immediate past president of the National Association of State Treasurers (NAST) and was elected president of the National Association of State Auditors, Comptrollers and Treasurers (NASACT) in August 2016. Both of these organizations bring together officials responsible for the financial management of state governments from across America.