Cities, counties could be playing the market

Should taxpayer money be used to play the stock market?

Stocks go up and stocks go down but the long-term trend has always been in an upward direction. So some public officials think there’s long-term money to be made.

Sen. Dave Senjem, R-Rochester, is sponsoring a bill at the Capitol allowing cities and counties of 100,000 or more to put tax revenue into mutual funds.

Olmsted County, for example, would be allowed to invest up to $21 million, the Rochester Post Bulletin says.

Money cities and counties are required to put in reserve for long-term liabilities doesn’t make much with financial instruments.

The average yield of a treasury note, for example, has only been 2.88 percent over the last 20 years, the PB says. The average return for the State Board of Investment over the same time is 8 percent.