The State Treasurer's responsibilities during the early 1900s were to oversee the collection of taxes and to ensure that collected funds were safely guarded. A series of California Bank Acts significantly changed and expanded the Treasurer's role by allowing state funds to be deposited in commercial banks.
For the first time, these Bank Acts allowed the investment of state funds and established the Treasurer as overseer of those investments. As a result of these acts, today's Treasurer is also responsible for raising revenue by selling bonds and, as Chairperson of the Pooled Money Investment Board, overseeing the investment of inactive funds. In effect the Treasurer is the State's tax collector, banker, guardian of funds, and asset manager.
As part of these responsibilities, the Treasurer serves as a consultant to the Governor, the Speaker of the Assembly, and the Senate President pro Tempore, reporting on the condition of the budget. He or she also proposes bills to the Legislature that help finance California's public institutions and stimulate the economy. The Treasurer, however, does not decide how money will be spent. That is the Legislature's role.
The Treasurer is elected by popular vote for a maximum of two, four-year terms. Should concurrent vacancies occur in the offices of Governor and Lieutenant Governor, the Treasurer is fifth in line to succeed to the office of Governor.