Tim Eichenberg was elected in 2014 as the 29th State Treasurer of New Mexico, and was reelected in 2018 for another four-year term. Raised in Albuquerque, New Mexico, he attended Albuquerque Public Schools and graduated from the University of New Mexico.
Tim’s career in public service began when he was elected Bernalillo County Treasurer. The reforms that were implemented during his tenure saved taxpayers money and led to his reelection. Later he was appointed by Governor Richardson to the position of New Mexico State Property Tax Director.
He was elected to the New Mexico State Senate in 2008. As a State Senator, Tim served on the Public Affairs and Judiciary committees, and was Chair of the Restructuring Committee, which sought to streamline State government and save taxpayers money. In 2010, Tim carried the Governmental Conduct Act, establishing a code of ethics for all government employees. In 2012, he served as Chair of the Revenue Stabilization and Tax Policy Committee.
The New Mexico State Treasurer’s Office provides banking assistance and services to State agencies, validates bank activity, acts as paying agent on the State’s outstanding debt/bond issues, manages and invests the State’s operating cash and bond proceeds (until needed for project costs), manages and invests the New Mexico Local Government Investment Pool (LGIP) on behalf of New Mexico’s local governing entities, and enforces the State’s collateral policy on financial institutions holding State money.
Since taking office, Tim has introduced or taken on several new initiatives, sometimes without a corresponding increase in appropriations to the State Treasurer’s Office. These include:
ABLE New Mexico
The Stephen Beck, Jr. Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act is considered one of the most significant pieces of U.S. legislation for the disability community since the Americans with Disabilities Act. The New Mexico legislature authorized ABLE accounts in 2016 with overwhelming bipartisan support. The State Treasurer’s Office launched ABLE New Mexico in January 2018 and recently achieved 400 accounts open.
Financial literacy is very important to Tim, so implementing a program to reach high school students was one of his first initiatives in early 2015. Unfortunately, later budget cuts meant that his non-mandated program had to go by the wayside. Fortunately, during the 2019 legislative session the State Treasurer’s Office received an appropriation to fund financial literacy education to youth in foster care to prepare them to make the transition from foster care to adulthood.
Retirement Income Security
Underinvestment in retirement savings creates the potential for fiscal challenges because states must face the prospect of relying on public funds to fulfill the needs of aging populations. Compared to the rest of the nation, New Mexico has a lower percentage of private-sector workers who have a retirement plan available through their employers and more workers who have $0 saved for retirement.
Over the last three years Tim has spearheaded the Retirement Income Security Task Force, the Work and Save Task Force, and HB 44, the Work and Save Act. This has culminated in creating a voluntary State IRA and a broader online marketplace for small business owners to offer even more to their employees.
Accountability and Transparency
Tim supports full accountability and transparency to the public through a website update daily; prompt responses to requests for public information through New Mexico’s Inspection of Public Records Act; and the State Treasurer’s Investment Committee (STIC), which meets monthly to review activity affecting both cash management and the investment of public funds.
Investing for New Mexico
For all investment decisions, the State Treasurer’s investment policy mandates the following principles in this priority order: preservation of principal, then liquidity, then yield.
During Fiscal Year 2019, the State Treasurer’s Office earned $120 million in investments. New Mexico has just over 2 million citizens, yet is the 5th largest state by area.
During Tim’s tenure, the State Treasurer’s Office has continually improved the cash forecasting model, closely tracking deposits and expenditures each day to assure sufficient cash flow for the State’s daily expenditures, while efficiently investing surplus funds.
Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
Under Tim’s leadership, the State Treasurer’s Office has initiated its first true disaster recovery plan. The State Treasurer places the highest priority on the security and safety of State data and is committed to maintaining an accurate and viable disaster recovery plan. The office would be able to continue providing critical banking and investment services to State and local governments with minimal disruption.
Payment Card Industry Data Security Standards
As a member of the Enterprise Payment Card Industry (PCI) Compliance Steering Committee, the State Treasurer’s Office has continued to commit significant resources to the enterprise project to bring all agencies accepting payment cards into compliance with the PCI Data Security Standards. New Mexico reached full compliance at the State level in FY2019. A new security standard requires encryption of all Automated Clearing House (ACH) bank account data on or before June 30, 2021.
Tim recognizes that these initiatives, while labor-intensive, are positive for the citizens, businesses, governments, and tribal entities with whom the State conducts financial trans-actions.