The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Archive for June, 2011

Wisconsin through the Windshield 6/27-28

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Earlier this week I had the pleasure of returning money to people across Southeastern Wisconsin. My assistant and I returned money to people in Janesville, Orfordville, Whitewater, Delavan, Elkhorn, Burlington, Racine, and Kenosha.

The tour kicked off in Janesville, where we returned more than $22,000, including almost $5,000 to one lady, and more than $16,000 to another person who stopped by. We were joined by Representative Joe Knilans, who enjoyed helping return money to his constituents in Janesville, a community hit very hard by this recession. I also had the opportunity to meet with Rock County Treasurer Vicki Brown, who is also the President of the Wisconsin County Treasurer’s Association. I enjoy getting to meet and talk to local officials on these tours, and I have a great deal of admiration for these folks who are on the front lines of local and state government.

In Orfordville, I was joined by another local official, Beth Schmidt, a member of the village board who invited me to her community for the event. Beth introduced me to Sarah Strunz, the director of the Orfordville Library. Despite its small size, Orfordville’s library has a greater circulation than some nearby towns with 4 times the population. As a result, Orfordville needs a larger building, and the community is banding together to support the new project entirely through donations.  I certainly hope they make their goal, and I admire their efforts to accomplish their objective without taxpayer dollars.

After a quick lunch at the Cake Box, a local business in Orfordville, we made productive stops across Walworth and Jefferson counties, capping Monday night with stops in Whitewater and Delavan, and starting Tuesday off  in Elkhorn.

In Racine County, I stopped in both Burlington and Racine. In Racine, I was joined by County Treasurer Jane Nikolai and her Deputy, who helped me return money to folks in that community. Both Treasurer Nikolai and I had the opportunity to speak to Robert Rosati from Wisconsin Internet News. My interview can be found at this link.

The tour ended in Kenosha, where we had a large crowd. Over the course of 2 days, we were able to help over 150 people look for Unclaimed property, and ended up returning over $25,000 to Wisconsinites.


Sixth International Conference on Climate Change

I am currently in WashingtonD.C. attending the Sixth International Conference on Climate Change, an event sponsored by the Heartland Institute.

As one of three members of the Board of Commissioners of Public Lands, I am a steward of nearly 75,000 acres in the state ofWisconsin. As such, I am concerned for both the environmental and the economic health of the State ofWisconsin, and I look forward to gaining perspective this highly politicized and controversial issue.

The Conference will be exploring the use of science and economics to improve the attendees’ understanding of climate change, and will be encouraging adherence to the scientific method in making predictions related to climate.

I am attending the conference as part of a legislative outreach effort on the part of the Heartland Institute, and was awarded a travel stipend to cover expenses dealing with attendance at the conference.

The Economy and You #4 – Who are the Unemployed?

Previously, I wrote about how the unemployment rate is calculated and whether it is an accurate measure of the health of our economy.  Did you know that there are a number of ways to determine how many people are “unemployed?”

In my last article, I explained that the Household Survey conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics places all adults into three categories: 1) employed; 2) unemployed; and 3) not in the labor force.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics also calculates several measures of labor underutilization or unemployment.

The first rate (U-1) measures only those persons considered to be long-term unemployed.  U-1 Is defined as persons unemployed for 15 weeks or longer, as a percent of the civilian labor force. Using data from November 2008, the U-1 rate was 2.6%.  With each successive rate, additional people are included in the calculation.

For the U-2 rate, the calculation includes job losers and persons who have completed temporary jobs, as a percent of the civilian labor force, but excludes people who leave their job.  The U-2 rate was 3.9%.

The official unemployment rate or U-3 is defined as the total amount of unemployed persons as determined through the household survey.  The U-3 rate in November 2008 was 6.7%. This is the unemployment rate you hear or read about in the news.

The U-4 rate calculation includes the total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all discouraged workers.  Discouraged Workers are persons who have given a job-market related reason for not currently looking for work.  The U-4 rate therefore is greater than the official unemployment rate with the addition of discouraged workers, who from the household survey would be classified as not in the workforce.  The U-4 rate was 7.0%.

U-5 includes total unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus marginally attached workers, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers. Marginally Attached Workers are persons, who currently are neither working nor looking for work, but indicate that they want and are available for a job, and have looked for work sometime in the recent past.  Again this increases the total amount of people who want to work but would not be classified as unemployed from the household survey.  The U-5 rate was 7.8% in November 2008.

Finally, the most inclusive unemployment rate or U-6 measures the total number of persons unemployed, plus discouraged workers, plus marginally attached workers, plus persons employed part-time for economic reasons, as a percent of the civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers. Persons employed part-time for economic reasons are those who want and are available for full-time work but have had to settle for part-time work.  These people would be considered employed even though they want and are able to work full-time.  Including all of the persons who want to work increases the rate significantly to12.5%.

As you can see, economists can point to a variety of statistics when talking about unemployment and labor underutilization.  Because of this, policy decisions regarding unemployment insurance, tax credits for job creation, and other labor initiatives may have little effect on the official unemployment rate, but could have a noticeable effect on the other measures of unemployment.  All in all, government leaders must recognize that the official unemployment rate does not provide a complete picture of the health of our economy.

Gold & Silver Sales Shatter eBay Auction Record

In just 5 months, out eBay auction of unclaimed property from safe deposit boxes has surpassed $110,000 and is just $87.06 away from breaking the 2010 total.

As of the May auction, the sales from the auctions hit $110,322.37. The June auction is happening right now and sales for that auction are already at $17,000 and rising. Last year’s total for 12 months was $110,409.43.

The auction, by far, is the most popular form of outreach I perform in the office. There are nearly 4000 people on the mailing list who are informed of the auction a few days before items go up and I am certain people search the database whenever they hear about an auction to look and see if there is any unclaimed property my office is holding.

Each month, I auction items being held in our vault. These items come to the Treasury from abandoned safe deposit boxes from all the banks across the State of Wisconsin. We receive these items after 5 years of inactivity and hold onto them for at least 3 more years. After trying to locate owners, the items are sol; most of the items are coins, jewelry or stamps. The money made is returned to the unclaimed property account in the owner’s name waiting for it to be claimed. The money remains in that person’s name forever and is never placed into the state’s general funds.

You can be a part of this exciting auction each month by heading to our website, and clicking on the “eBay” logo on the home page. There, you can sign up for the mailing list as well as see the items up for auction. You can also click on another link that takes you to our eBay page!

Our June auction taking place right now has some very popular gold coins as well as some jewelry lots. It will end on Friday July 1st. Click here to see what we have this month!

Southern County Tour June 27th-28th

We will be on the road in Rock, Jefferson, Walworth, Racine and Kenosha counties next Monday and Tuesday with the Unclaimed Property Database!

Treasurer Schuller’s Schedule for Monday June 27th, 2011

 Hedberg Public Library/Janesville

316 South Main St.


Orfordville Public Library

203W. Beloit St.



Irvin L. Young Memorial Library/Whitewater



Aram Public Library/Delavan

 404 East Walworth



Treasurer Schuller’s Schedule for Tuesday June 28th, 2011

Matheson Memorial Library/Elkhorn

 101 NWisconsin



Burlington Public Library

166 East Jefferson St.


Racine Public Library

75 7th St.


Kenosha Southwest Library

7979 -38th Ave.


Badger Girls State

Last evening, I was honored to attend the Inauguration Ceremony at Badger Girls State.  Badger Girls State is one of 49 different Girls State programs held across the country. The American Legion Auxiliary is responsible for the program, and each state’s Girls State event is sponsored by the corresponding American Legion Auxiliary Department.

The American Legion Auxiliary National Convention organized the program in 1937, and Badger Girls State kicked off in 1941. With the exception of 1943-1945, the program has been going ever since.  Badger Girls State teaches young women important lessons about civics, patriotism, and leadership.

Not just anybody is eligible to attend Badger Girls State. The Auxiliary and local teachers work together to select the young ladies eligible to attend the program. Attendees must have achieved Junior status in High School, must have an interest in government, must place in the top half of their class academically, must be physically fit, must participate in extracurriculars, and must be of good general character.

These young ladies wake up at 6 AM every morning of the 6 day event in order to participate in all of the sessions. By the end of the program, the girls have created a “51st state” complete with functioning city, county, and state governments. The girls partcipate in elections, and on the 5th day of the program, are inaugurated.

I was happy to join Gov. Scott Walker, Sec. of State Doug LaFollette, and Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson (attending for her 35th straight year!) in honoring the 2011 Badger Girls State constitutional officers.

Special congratulations to Sydney Stiener, 2011 Badger Girls State State Treasurer!

June eBay Auction starts Friday June 24th at Noon!

We are just a few hours away from the June eBay Auction.

Here’s a preview of what’s for auction and here’s our eBay page. You can also sign up for an email notification for upcoming auctions. Click this link to do that!

Image representing eBay as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

We have some great gold Double Eagles for auction this month – 8 lots of the gold coins…some are un-circulated and the appraiser was thoroughly surprised at their condition. These items are abandoned property in Wisconsin Safe Deposit boxes that we hold onto for at least 8 years before selling.

gold coins 1933_double_eagle

Image by roberthuffstutter via Flickr

Our monthly auction is popular…you’ll never know what you might find!