WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Treasury unveiled a plan yesterday to make it easier for state and local governments to buy and pay for state and local government series securities, known as SLUGs.

Under the plan, state and local officials could fax their SLUGs orders to one federal office, rather than mailing them to the Federal Reserve office in their district, according to the bureau of the public debt.

State and local governments also would pay for SLUGs by having their banks wire the money to the Treasury. "This change eliminates a process where payment was effected by charge to the reserve account of a finance institution," the department said.

The proposal was published in yesterday's Federal Register and carries a 15-day comment period. If approved, the new procedures would go into effect in January, the department said.

Peter Hollenbach, public affairs director of the bureau of the public debt, described the plan as a relatively minor procedural change that should help state and local officials.

"SLUGs investors will now have a single point of contact with an expert staff to resolve technical issues or questions about their investments," the department said.

The single point would be the bureau's operations center in Parkersburg, W. Va.

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