Election 2018Hot SheetState agenciesState budget

Brian Watson, Dave Young talk treasurer’s race on TV Sunday

Author: Joey Bunch - August 30, 2018 - Updated: August 30, 2018

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Colorado voters get precious few chances to see down-ticket candidates for statewide office in the same setting. On Sunday, “The Aaron Harber Show” will provide a full hour with two major party candidates for state treasurer: Republican Brian Watson and Democrat Dave Young of Greeley.

The pair sits together on “The Aaron Harber Show” on KCDO TV Channel 3 statewide from 11 a.m. to noon and again from 8 to 9 p.m.

Watson, a metro Denver businessman, and Young, an influential state representative from Greeley, discuss the details of this year’s bailout and remaining issues with the state employees’ pension plan, the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA).

“They also examine how PERA’s financial woes could impact the creditworthiness and rating of various state agencies and institutions — resulting in higher bonding costs for taxpayers,” Harber said. “Other PERA issues include the conflicts of interest related to having board members who directly receive financial benefits from the program and the fact the PERA Board of Directors sets the rate of return for the PERA portfolio and has tended to set it higher than is reasonable, especially when other portfolio return projections are examined.”

Watson credited Stapleton, saying the legislature had shirked tending to the pension funds’ problems, and “Walker has been going in there aggressively trying to bring PERA to the forefront of the conversation.”

They also scrutinize the current treasurer, pivoting to the Great Colorado Payback program that connects lost or misguided money or property to its rightful owners or heirs.

“Watson criticizes Young for the state assembly’s decision to take $500 million of these resources for the state’s budget, while Young counters that the financial experts concluded the state still would be able to pay everyone who made a legitimate claim,” Harber reports. “Both candidates argue the current system has failed Coloradans and is need of serious repair. Examples of how the Treasurer’s office requires Colorado municipalities and counties to prove who they are before receiving their own funds is one set of examples of how bureaucratic the office has become.

“Both candidates posit the treasurer’s office needs to be far more transparent, with Young proposing to re-establish the transparency initiative begun by former State Treasurer Cary Kennedy and allegedly discontinued by the incumbent, Walker Stapleton. Finally, with a focus on the plus- or minus-$7 billion managed at any one time by the treasurer, the candidates are questioned about what their experiences are related to actually managing large sums of money.”

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch

Joey Bunch is the senior political correspondent for Colorado Politics. He has a 31-year career in journalism, including the last 15 in Colorado. He was part of the Denver Post team that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 and is a two-time Pulitzer finalist. His resume includes covering high school sports, the environment, the casino industry and civil rights in the South, as well as a short stint at CNN.