Endorsement: Frerichs for treasurer

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The role of the Illinois Treasurer is to invest the state’s money wisely in order to secure a good return. Given the state’s many financial woes, we need a steady presence in that office, someone who will keep the taxpayers as the No. 1 priority.

We have that in Democratic incumbent Michael Frerichs, who is finishing up his first term in the treasurer’s office after serving in the Illinois Senate for eight years and as Champaign County auditor for about five years.

Frerichs notes that during his term, the treasurer’s office has more than quadrupled interest income into the state. He also touted the office’s accomplishment of slashing fees families were paying to save for college and for setting up a program to help parents of children with disabilities save for their future.

His work on returning unclaimed property has been admirable: The I-Cash program has returned more than $500 million during his term as treasurer. And he’s making it even easier for residents to get money owed to them: The “Money Match” expansion program will automatically return claims that are $2,000 or less. Talk about government working for the people it serves.

And we love his work championing the Secure Choice program, which intends to help an estimated 1.2 million Illinoisans who work for an employer who does not offer a retirement savings program, so that more of the state’s residents are saving for their futures.

If re-elected, Frerichs pledges to continue to focus on maximizing investment returns and finding efficiencies that save money for the state. His efforts so far to make the office’s website more user-friendly have been fruitful, and we look forward to seeing what else he can do to improve transparency.

His two opponents — Republican Jim Dodge and Libertarian Mike Leheney — are both qualified candidates and offer solid ideas as to how they would run the office if voters give them the chance.

The big question candidates in this and the comptroller races face is whether those two offices should be combined. Both Dodge and Frerichs believe there are savings to be realized if that were to happen. Leheney is against such a move, citing the need for checks and balances. And he believes savings can be generated by consolidating services and locations without combining the positions. Given it would take at a minimum two years to get a consolidation question before voters, Leheney’s idea should be explored to see if savings can be realized.

Leheney touts his professional background in finance, as well as being outside of the two-party system, as traits that will help him implement steps needed to create a positive economic landscape in Illinois. We like his idea of expanding the reporting mechanisms of the office to look at not only the investments of the state, but also the programs the state runs. And if he can do all that in what he described as “easily digestible views” so residents can understand all that financial jargon, power to him.

Dodge also advocates for expanding the scope of the treasurer’s office, and we like his vow to provide more information to taxpayers to show them how their money is working. We applaud his desire to be as transparent as possible, and his promise to provide simple but accurate numbers on how much any initiative lawmakers approve will cost taxpayers.

These are all valid ideas that deserve considerations, and both Dodge and Lehaney would likely do a fine job in the office. But as the incumbent, Frerichs has done nothing that warrants booting him from office. He’s dependable, has managed the state’s investments well, looks out for everyday Illinoisans and has made significant strides at improving transparency in the office. Frerichs is endorsed.

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Region: Springfield,Feeds,Opinion,Region: Central,City: Springfield

via Opinion – The State Journal-Register https://ift.tt/1wGYaRW

October 16, 2018 at 08:15PM

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