Louisiana Treasurer Calls for Statewide Online Payment Options for All State Agencies

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Published July 10, 2022

Louisiana Treasurer Calls for Statewide Online Payment Options for All State Agencies

Louisiana  – On July 8, 2022, State Treasurer John M. Schroder led Louisiana Cash Management Review Board (CMRB) discussions, emphasizing the importance of Louisiana learning to better harness the benefits of modern technology. Two items on the agenda indicated the need to investigate the acceptance of electronic payment methods for all state agencies and investigate the digital assets available to the state and make recommendations for their best use.

Schroder urged members to think about ways to bring the state up to speed on accepting online payments for government services across all departments and agencies. This could include online payment services like Zelle, PayPal, Venmo, ApplePay, and Google Pay. Current cash payment methods would not be phased out, but citizens would be given new options.

“Louisiana needs to catch up with the 21st Century and stop living in the Stone Age with the Flintstones,” said Schroder. “We must be aggressive and catch up to the technology available for the citizens of Louisiana.”

Schroder went on to say that his position as treasurer gives him some administrative financial responsibility across state agencies, but not the authority to mandate the implementation of online payment acceptance. He requested a meeting with the Division of Administration to discuss how this could be accomplished.

“This is about what is most convenient for our customers – the taxpayers of the state of Louisiana,” he said. “What it’s not about is what is easiest for agencies – the status quo.”

Furthermore, the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 103 during the 2022 Regular Legislative Session resulted in the formation of the Louisiana Digital Assets Working Group as a subset of the CMRB. According to the legislation, the working group is tasked with researching, reporting, and making specific recommendations on a variety of issues in transformational technologies such as blockchain, cryptocurrencies, digital assets, distributed ledgers, Internet of Things (IoT), intelligent automation, machine learning, robotics, tokenization, and related technologies. It also calls for the formation of a broader advisory group comprised of experts in relevant fields of emerging financial technologies, including the Lafayette Public Innovation Alliance, as well as from across the country and around the world, to inform the group’s work.

“Treasurer Schroder has demonstrated strong leadership by taking on this study to better understand how Louisiana can take advantage of this innovative and potentially transformative technology,” said Rep. Mark Wright, HCR103 author. “Our state needs to show that it is willing to embrace and safely use digital assets at any level it is practical. The Treasurer is showing the industry and the nation that Louisiana is a forward-looking state.”

Members of the CMRB named Schroder and Wright as the working group’s initial appointees and heard plans to conduct outreach to form an advisory group of experts in this new field of technology.

Schroder assured members that the working group is not about investing in cryptocurrency.

“I want to be crystal clear that there are no plans to invest the finances of the state, money that belongs to our taxpayers, in any type of cryptocurrency,” he said.

Members also received and approved Cybersecurity Plans and Financial Procedures submitted by several state agencies, but not all, in accordance with Act 66 of the 2021 Regular Legislative Session. They also reviewed and approved requests for escrow and banking accounts from various agencies.