By Treasurer David McRae
For the last few years, I’ve been raising a warning flag about the Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) movement, it’s politically motivated selection of financial winners and losers, and the threat this poses to Mississippians’ savings and retirement goals. I am pleased to report that this summer we marked one of our biggest wins yet.
In mid-August, S&P Global – one of the nation’s credit rating agencies – announced it would stop publishing ESG ratings in their reports after states and financial officers called their practices out as deceptive and potentially fraudulent.
This is particularly important for states, like Mississippi, whose values don’t always align with those of Wall Street elites. Without change, there was a realistic potential that even if Mississippi maintained our fiscal stability, the state’s credit rating would be downgraded due to our embrace of pro-life, pro-energy, pro-agriculture policies.
Think about that: You, the taxpayer, are charged more – not because we don’t pay our bills – but because someone else doesn’t agree with our way of thinking.
It’s as though you went out to buy a new car. Before securing a loan, the salesperson runs a quick credit report. It comes back clean; you pay your bills on time after all. Then, they ask you if you remembered to turn off all the lights in your house before you came to the dealership. You look at them somewhat puzzled, but remember you left a few on. Once they learn this, they downgrade your credit score and charge you a higher interest rate on your auto loan.
It doesn’t make sense, does it? Nonetheless, this was the scoring scheme S&P Global was moving toward. I commend them, however, for reversing course.
There is still a long way to go to rid the financial system of ESG, but I’m hopeful S&P’s decision is the first in a long line of dominos to fall.
When retirements, pensions, and savings are on the line, taxpayers and individuals alike deserve to know that investment decisions and credit ratings are based on financial facts – and financial facts alone. You worked too hard for your retirement for it to be jeopardized by a Wall Street big wig who is trying to score political points with the Woke Left.
I will continue to stay on top of this issue for you, ensuring your tax dollars, Mississippians’ public pensions, and our agriculture, timber, and energy industries are protected. We’ve taken a step in the right direction; let’s not lose momentum now.
Mississippi Treasurer David McRae is the 55th Treasurer for the State of Mississippi. In this role, he helps manage the state’s cash flow, oversees College Savings Mississippi, and has returned nearly $75 million in unclaimed money to Mississippians. For more information, visit Treasury.MS.gov.