Local

Benton County treasurer sets sights on the state job

Duane Davidson
Duane Davidson

Benton County Treasurer Duane A. Davidson is entering the race for state treasurer.

Davidson, a Republican, said Tuesday that he is filing with the Secretary of State to run for the post held by Democrat Jim McIntire in the 2016 general election.

McIntire announced in December that he would not seek a third term.

There is a longstanding tradition in Washington of electing county treasurers to the state office, said Davidson, now in his fourth term in Benton County.

Davidson also is serving a second one-year term as president of the Washington State Association of County Treasurers. He has worked with lawmakers on legislation that concerns property taxes and how county treasurers operate, he said.

The state treasurer has a strong relationship with the county-level leaders, but he sees room for improvement.

“To have that relationship working well is a key issue for efficiency’s sake,” he said.

The Washington State Treasurer serves as chief financial officer of the state’s resources, overseeing $408 billion of transactions annually, a $20 billion debt portfolio, an investment of $16 billion in short-term assets and public deposits of $6 billion.

Davidson criticized McIntire for taking a high-profile stance in support of a state income tax. In April, McIntire proposed lowering sales and property tax rates and creating an income tax to fund education.

Davidson said he is personally opposed to a state income tax, but feels the state treasurer should remain neutral. He attributes Washington’s refusal so far to tax income as a reason for its prosperity.

The treasurer’s office provides much of the data that informs the debate over whether Washington should adopt an income tax.

“People will be looking to them for key data and both sides should have the feeling that the data is not tainted. It may not be, but it’s hard to say,” he said.

Davidson grew up in the Seattle suburb of Carnation, a dairy farming community. He studied accounting at Central Washington University, where he met his wife, Kathy. He later went to work for the state auditor’s office. He is a certified public accountant.

He became intrigued by the role of elected county treasurers. When former Benton County treasurer Darwin Park decided not to seek re-election in 2003, he ran and won.

He has three children, including a son who attends Washington State University and a daughter who will graduate from Kennewick’s Southridge High School this year.

The Washington State Treasurer serves as chief financial officer of the state’s resources. The position oversees $408 billion of transactions annually, a $20 billion debt portfolio, an investment of $16 billion in short-term assets and public deposits of $6 billion.

In addition to state treasurer, Washington voters will select a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, attorney general, commissioner of public lands, superintendent of public instruction and insurance commissioner this year.

Wendy Culverwell: 509-582-1415, @WendyCulverwell

  Comments