Treasurer starts Web site to help residents buy California bonds | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Treasurer starts Web site to help residents buy California bonds

SACRAMENTO (AP) – The treasurer’s office launched a Web site Monday to help Californians invest in the state by buying its bonds.

It is the first “state-run Web site of its kind in the country,” said Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for Treasurer Bill Lockyer.

It follows voters’ approval last November of the sale of $42.7 billion in bonds to pay for flood control, roads, public transit, schools, affordable housing, parks and other projects.

“The basic goal is to help Californians invest in the state’s future,” Dresslar said. “Last November, they made it pretty clear that they are prepared to make the investments needed to provide a better California for their children and grandchildren. The whole point of the Web site is to make it easier for them to be a direct part of that investment.”

The site includes information about the financial benefits of buying the tax-exempt bonds, how to buy them and upcoming bond sales.

The first sale offered on the site, http://www.BuyCaliforniaBonds.com, takes place June 20 for $2.5 billion in bonds. They will pay for new schools, libraries, university facilities, parks, children’s hospitals and clean air and water projects.

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Those bonds were approved by voters in elections in 2000, 2002 and 2004.

Individual investors can place orders through brokers on June 18 and 19. Mutual funds, insurance companies and other institutional investors can join the sale on June 20.

Individual investors will pay the same price as institutional investors, and the state will pay the individual buyers’ brokers commissions.

Individuals have been able to buy California bonds in the past, but the Web site makes it easier for them to do so, Dresslar said.

The state is running radio and newspaper ads in the San Francisco and central coast areas to publicize the Web site. Dresslar said the success of the limited ad buy will determine how extensively the state advertises future bond sales.

Officials hope that bringing in more individual investors will drive up demand for the bonds and thus lower the state’s interest rate.

The last time California sold bonds, purchases by individuals made up only 7 percent of the total sale. But individual investors typically buy 25 percent of municipal bonds sold by New York City, which has used radio ads for years to publicize its bonds, Lockyer said in a statement.

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