Ken Blackwell Op-Ed in The Toledo Blade: Treasurer candidate playing politics with state funds

The trouble we run into during campaign season is candidates making emotional promises that yield harmful policy. One of the state Treasurer candidates has essentially promised to use state investments as a political tool. This misguided approach is harmful to Ohio’s financial future.

Democratic state Treasurer nominee Rob Richardson said (”Attorney pushes investing changes; Richardson outlines goals,” Oct. 14) he plans to divest state investments in private prison companies to make a statement, even though these companies have proven profitable investments for our state.

Promising divestment from private prison stocks is pandering for votes, and won’t impact how such companies operate or that they exist. The state treasurer must understand that a robust pension fund is the goal and these stocks have delivered. The Public Employees Retirement System of Ohio invests in both of the nation’s two largest prison contractors, the GEO Group and CoreCivic. As of June, 2018, the GEO Group stock owned by the Public Employees system was valued at over $2.5 million, with the investment in CoreCivic stock valued at over $5.5 million. The State Teachers Retirement System of Ohio also owns stock in both companies, to the tune of $5.7 million and nearly $4.9 million, respectively. Both of these companies have seen astronomical growth in share prices since 2016.

Read the full story here.