The state treasurer’s office is tasked with returning unclaimed property to the proper owner. State Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald started the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt in 1983 to help Iowans locate their unclaimed property. To continue the efforts of returning property to the rightful owners and heirs, the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt joined Facebook and Twitter in September. Each week, the program’s Facebook page and Twitter feed will allow individuals to view unique items from safe deposit boxes, check out the Top 10 unclaimed property lists for various Iowa counties, and receive tips on how to prevent assets from becoming unclaimed property.
Corporations, business associations, financial institutions and companies across the nation report millions of dollars in unclaimed property to the state treasurer each year. Common examples of unclaimed property include money in forgotten savings and checking accounts, uncashed insurance benefit and payroll checks, lost stock and dividends, abandoned safe deposit box contents, gift cards, utility refunds or deposits.
Be sure to Like the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @GreatIATreasure. For more information about the program and to search for your unclaimed treasure visit greatiowatreasurehunt.com.
The New Year is just around the corner, which means it is a great time to start thinking about saving for your child’s future education. Rather than having friends and family purchase toys that will soon be forgotten or broken, invite them to give one of the most meaningful gifts a child may ever receive, help toward paying for a college education.
While any form of saving for college is better than not saving at all, saving with a state-sponsored 529 plan, such as College Savings Iowa has a two-fold benefit. You will not only be helping a child prepare for his/her future education, but Iowa taxpayers can also deduct contributions up to $3,045 per beneficiary from their 2013 adjusted gross income.* To take advantage of this great tax-savings opportunity, investors can contribute online at collegesavingsiowa.com by December 31, 2013. If the contribution is being mailed, checks must be postmarked by December 31, 2013.
College Savings Iowa is also giving away a $5,290 College Savings Iowa account. For more information about the giveaway and to register, visit collegesavingsiowa.com any time before November 30. Additionally, be sure to like College Savings Iowa on Facebook and follow the Plan on Twitter @Iowa529Plan to stay up to date on all current news and giveaways.
Iowa's Budget and Economic Outlook
Iowa’s economy continued to experience improvement in the fourth quarter of 2013. The state’s unemployment rate ended the quarter at 4.6%, the seventh lowest rate in the nation. Helping to boost Iowa’s employment level is increased hiring in the construction sector, with 3,400 jobs added since September 2012. The construction sector has been driven by the resurgence of the housing market in Iowa, with home prices, values, and new home starts witnessing strong increases from the previous year. Manufacturing, spurred by the strong agricultural sector, also continued its strong performance, creating over 3,000 jobs since the fourth quarter of 2012. Looking ahead, prices for agricultural commodities are currently trending downward, which could put a damper on the future growth of the agricultural sector.
2013 Year in Review
The state treasurer's office had another successful year in 2013. The Great Iowa Treasure Hunt eclipsed over $170 million dollars returned in unclaimed property, College Savings Iowa celebrated its 15 year anniversary, we launched an interactive map, went mobile with College Savings Iowa and the Great Iowa Treasure Hunt, visited over 200 communities during our travels and the State of Iowa paid off over $90 million dollars in outstanding bonds. This is our fourth and final newsletter for 2013 and I want to thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to read it. In closing, I would like to wish you and your family a very happy holiday season. I look forward to working for you in 2014.
Treasurer Michael L. Fitzgerald