Our Opinion: Goldberg for treasurer

The Berkshire Eagle

When Deb Goldberg visited The Eagle four years ago in her campaign for the open seat of state treasurer she indicated she was not interested in using the office as a steppingstone for higher office, as had a variety of predecessors, but wanted to begin initiatives that would take time to complete. When she visited The Eagle this month she made the case for re-election in large part so she could continue these promising initiatives.

The treasurer’s most high profile responsibility is running the state lottery, and last year’s was the most profitable in state history, generating $1 billion in net profit which is distributed to municipalities in the form of state aid. (Lottery sales were slightly more than $5 billion, with $3.6 billion going to prize winners and the remainder minus net profit going to retail ticket sellers and lottery operations.) She wants to expand lottery sales on line, but promises to use the internet to pursue an untapped market without taking away revenue from the mom & pop stores that sell lottery tickets.

The treasurer, however, oversees several offices, enabling an ambitious treasurer to pursue a variety of initiatives. In her first term she instituted a pilot program in Worcester to encourage young children and their parents to begin saving for college. In October, the treasurer hosted a town hall in Pittsfield to trumpet an expanded pilot program called SOARMA, in which a public-private partnership will provide an initial seed deposit of $50 and a matching savings of up to $400 to encourage savings for college. Reid Middle School will participate in the program, which will also include college savings workshops for families.

The treasurer instituted a financial literacy task force which provides education to residents on how to avoid scams and explore ways of building their financial portfolio. A strong advocate of diversity — according to the treasurer’s figures, more than half of the office’s 800 workers are women, and more than 30 percent are people of color — she introduced EqualPayMa.com, which provides a wage gap calculator for women, and has reached out to corporate leaders to encourage boardroom diversity.

Along those lines, Ms. Goldberg worked with the Pension Reserves Investment Management Board — her office oversees the state’s pension fund — to encourage the hiring of more LHBTQ employees in companies the board invests in. Her office’s social advocacy partnering with the Legislature in a bill requiring the pension board to divest from companies that make guns and ammunition.

Ms. Goldberg’s Republican opponent, state Rep. Keiko Orrall, has drawn attention to the high number of repeat winners in the Lottery, which indicates a potential gaming of the system. This is a genuine concern, but Rep. Orrall’s focus on the office has been narrow, and there is no reason to believe she would continue the valuable programs that the treasurer has introduced.

The Eagle is confident that Deb Goldberg will continue and build upon these programs and endorses her for re-election as state treasurer.

Read the endorsement in The Berkshire Eagle here.

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