By Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer
September 23, 2014

Grand Hotel - ariel viewwebFrom September 6-10, the NAST* Annual Conference was held at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. It was my first visit there and I know exactly why they call it the Grand Hotel. It is massive, impressive and unique. The weather was spectacular while we were there. Even though it may be a bit difficult to travel to the island, the entire experience is well worth the effort.

The conference enjoyed a good turnout of members, affiliates and guests. Approximately 20 state treasurers were in attendance. I am proud to say that all but one of our CSPN treasurers were there. Participating in the event were Treasurers Michael Fitzgerald (Iowa), Ron Estes (Kansas), Lynn Fitch (Mississippi), John Perdue (West Virginia) and I.

Although we did not have a presentation or session on the program, CSPN topics arose during the conference.

I made a report to the annual business meeting regarding the CSPN activities for the past year. I reported that it had been a good year and we were on course to complete the goals set out in the current strategic plan. We have been successful in growing college savings accounts, assets under management and continue to grow as the leading voice of college savings across the country. We could not have accomplished the objectives without the leadership of our current chair Betty Lochner, past chair Mike Fitzgerald, Chris Hunter (NAST Interim Executive Director) and our dedicated committee members.

To enhance its effectiveness, CSPN works under a strategic plan and those attending the conference were updated on the progress of the plan for 2015-17. I had the opportunity to outline the four CSPN goals and a number of CSPN activities including the promotion of College Savings Month this month.

Of special note was a discussion in the legislative committee concerning ABLE accounts. Legislation regarding such accounts could be positioned to move quicker than previously expected. Its score has recently been reduced and it has a large number of sponsors in Congress. At CSPN, we will continue to track its movement.

Following the business meeting, NAST held elections. David Lillard Jr. (Tennessee) was elected president, James McIntire (Washington) was elected senior vice president and Ken Miller (Oklahoma) was elected secretary-treasurer. Of course, all praised outgoing NAST President Richard Ellis (Utah) for his service as president this year.

NAST’s annual conference is scheduled for October 2015 and will be quite special.  Hosted by Treasurer Lillard in Nashville, the rumor is that there will be a karaoke contest. Start loosening up those pipes!

*The National Association of State Treasurer’s.  The College Savings Plans Network is an affiliate of NAST.

About the Author:
Alabama State Treasurer Young Boozer is the current vice chair of CSPN and has served as Alabama’s 39th state treasurer since January 2011.  As state treasurer he serves as chairman of the board for Alabama’s 529 Fund, CollegeCounts, and Alabama’s prepaid plan, PACT.  Treasurer Boozer has used his 40 years of financial experience in investments and banking to dramatically improve treasury operations for Alabama’s citizens.