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Missouri Amendment One involves municipal bonds and portfolio options

Missourians will be casting ballots Tuesday on a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow the state treasurer’s office to invest in municipal bonds.

State treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick supports Amendment One, saying Missouri has the most restrictive investment guidelines in the nation. Fitzpatrick tells 939 the Eagle that Missouri is one of only two states whose investments are defined by their state Constitution.

“Every other state is essentially allowed to modify allowable investments by changing statute or even sometimes by just promulgating rules,” he says.

Fitzpatrick says Amendment One provides additional safe and secure investment options that would give Missouri a more competitive advantage and help diversify the portfolio. He says it would help his office  safely and securely fulfill its constitutional duty to manage the investment of taxpayer funds.

“The (state) Constitution was passed in the (19)40s. And I mean we can’t even currently invest in like money market mutual funds. The fact that we can’t invest in municipal  bonds is very restrictive, and it leaves a lot of money on the table for taxpayers,” says Fitzpatrick.

If Missouri voters approve Amendment one, the language is clear. It says the state treasurer “may also invest in municipal securities possessing one of the five highest long term ratings or the highest short term rating issued by a nationally recognized rating agency and maturing and becoming payable not more than five years from the date of purchase.”

Fitzpatrick says a modest investment of less than ten percent of the state portfolio in municipal bonds would generate an additional $5-million in return for taxpayers under current market conditions.