North Notes
Spokane-North Rotary Club Bulletin
July 18, 2022
            July 25: Noon. Lunch at the Bark.  Topic: Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs.
Happy Buck$:
            Lenore Romney thanked the club for a gift certificate honoring her presidency for the Rotary last year, saying she toasted with a Marycliff Wine vintage.
            Bill Simer was happy about the Four-Way-Test language comparing text with Lions Club verbiage.
            John Mailliard was happy that his investment in solar panels at his home has dropped his Avista electric bill from $140 a month to $29.53.
Treasurer’s report: ‘a pretty good place’
            If you fret about your own check book balances, think about the challenges Mike Pellicciotti has to worry about.
            Mike, Washington State Treasurer, visited the club July 18, and most of his comments used the “B” word, as in billions.
            He said his office of 65 staffers manage 366 investments, totaling billions, and handles debt totaling $20 billion in bonds involving $400 billion a year.
            In his position, Mike also sits on boards and commissions statewide that deal with billions of dollars.
            When Pellicciotti began his tenure on Jan. 1, 2021, he said “we (the state) had a $6 billion hole, but now we are in a pretty good place money-wise.”
            One strategy, Mike said, was to “refinance every dollar of bonds we could do, saving $100 million.”  He added: “Now we are ahead of the curve.”
            Pellicciotti’s term continues through 2024.  He said he was in Spokane to see his mom, who lives in the Indian Trail area, and to visit a niece, also in Spokane.  He said he has visited eight or nine Rotary clubs statewide to discuss is office’s policies.
            Mike is a Gonzaga law grad and likes to attend GU basketball games when he can.
            Prior to his current position, he served two terms in the State Legislature, representing the 30th District in South King County (Federal Way) and North Pierce County.
            Mike credited Spokane legislators Andy Billig and Mike Ormsby for helping the Treasurer’s office for helping guiding helpful legislation.
            Pellicciotti said with their help the state has been able to put $1.5 billion in reserves.  “That’s not super easy to do,” Mike said.
            Legislation also capped the capital budget at “no greater than 5 percent” and was able to remove $800 million in unfunded liabilities, he said.
            “The state’s credit rating, according to Moody’s, is AAA, the top-rate,” Mike said.
            Pellicciotti, a Fulbright scholar, also has a master’s degree in rural development.  Asked about eastern Washington prospects, he said he tries to “focus on 20, 30 or 40 years” in programs “so teen-agers now can think about a future in rural areas.”  Federal expansion of broadband wiring in rural areas will help that, he agreed.
            He worries about small business survival and a growing number of people who wonder if they will ever afford a house in the inflated times of prices.  “Why would anyone want a mortgage if they never have hope for a home?  Or why would they want to get into the stock market?”
            Mike also worried about the state’s $1.4 billion-a-year cannabis industry, which, without federal support is mostly in cash.  “That’s nuts,” he said.  “The robbers go where the cash is,” he added, where “there is a robbery a day” among cannabis stores statewide.
            He would like a Safe Banking Act measure to help out.
            Finally, Mike said he worries about China, which would like to overtake that country’s currency to replace the U.S. dollar.
            For the state treasurer, in addition to billions of dollars, it seems there also are a billion challenges.
Bulletin editors: Chuck Rehberg and Sandy Fink