Originally created 09/19/06

Ravenel visits GOP in Aiken



AIKEN - A small but receptive crowd on Monday greeted Thomas Ravenel, a candidate for state treasurer.

Mr. Ravenel, a Charleston developer, outlined his agenda for the office to about 30 people at a meeting of the Aiken Republican Club.

The candidate defeated three competitors, including state Sen. Greg Ryberg, of Aiken, to win the GOP nomination in June.

He will face Democratic incumbent Grady Patterson, who had held the treasurer's office for 36 of the past 40 years, in the November general election.

"We need modern methods for investing our money," Mr. Ravenel said.

The state can invest in only bonds and equities, he said, and it puts most of its money into bonds.

Mr. Ravenel said the state also should invest in commodities, hedge funds and real estate.

He called for a restructuring of state government by disbanding the Budget and Control Board. That financial body is made up of the governor, the treasurer, the comptroller general, the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

"Why do we have a Budget and Control Board to begin with? It's a five-headed monster.

"We're the only state in the union that has a Budget and Control Board. That ought to tell you something," Mr. Ravenel said.

He said the executive branch is better suited to exercise fiscal control.

Club President Robert Gossett called the Budget and Control Board the race's top issue.

The GOP nominee wants to improve the state's credit rating. In July, Standard & Poor's dropped South Carolina's credit rating from AAA to AA-plus. Moody's Investors Service and Fitch Ratings did not drop their ratings, however.

This month, Mr. Ravenel traveled to New York to visit representatives of the three agencies, which rate investors' risk when they buy state-issued bonds and which set ratings that influence the cost of borrowing.

In addition, he said he would work to bring higher-paying jobs to the state.

"I'm all about making South Carolina more competitive, more prosperous," Mr. Ravenel said.

Associated Press reports were used in this article.

Reach Betsy Gilliland at (803) 648-1395, ext. 113, or betsy.gilliland@augustachronicle.com.

TREASURER'S DUTY


The South Carolina treasurer is responsible for the investment, cash management and safekeeping of the state's general and restricted funds and most of its retirement systems. Other duties include coordinating banking services for all state agencies and protecting South Carolina's credit rating.

Source: www.state.sc.us/treas/office



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