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House Bill 535 — State treasurer, investments

House Bill 535 — State treasurer, investments

Parrish Miller
February 7, 2022

Bill Description: House Bill 535 would tell the state treasurer to provide "financial education" to increase "financial literacy and preparedness for individual retirement."

Rating: -1

Does it create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government? Conversely, does it eliminate or curtail the size or scope of government?

House Bill 535 would amend Section 67-1201, Idaho Code, and create Section 67-1203C, Idaho Code, to obligate the state treasurer  to "provide financial education" to "the general public for the purpose of increasing financial literacy and preparedness for individual retirement."

This expands  the scope of government, and it usurps the free market’s role in instructing people in matters such as investing. 

Concerningly, the new section also calls for the treasurer’s website to highlight  "investment providers that provide low-cost, reputable individual retirement accounts (IRAs)" who are reviewed by the State Treasurer Investment Advisory Board. The board itself is tasked with creating "policies and procedures for ongoing review” to determine which investment providers are listed on the treasurer's website.

This provision is ripe for cronyism, given that the bill gives the board no clear guidelines for how to determine which investment providers to include. There is also no requirement that all investment providers be considered for inclusion and no provision for an investment provider to request consideration. Adding some investment providers to a state website gives them the unmerited appearance of greater trustworthiness.


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