If we had a nickel for every time it was suggested that the offices of the Illinois comptroller and treasurer should be combined, we could wipe out Illinois’ debt.
Alas, legislation to do so has passed one legislative branch or the other in the General Assembly, but never both despite evidence that such a move would create a more efficient office.
The good news is there are two good people in those offices: Susana Mendoza as comptroller and Mike Frerichs as treasurer. We think voters should keep them in their current jobs.
Mendoza, a Democrat, beat Republican Leslie Munger in a special election two years ago. In the two years Mendoza has been in charge of the office that pays the state’s bills, she has generated impressive legislative results.
The Debt Transparency Act , which requires state agencies to report to the comptroller each month the unpaid bills that they haven’t submitted to her for payment, and whether they have the money to pay any of those bills, was a common-sense good-government measure championed by Mendoza.
The Truth in Hiring Act, legislation that requires governors to pay executive office employees out of the budget set aside for the governor’s office, also was pushed by Mendoza.
Legislative accomplishments aside, Mendoza has done what her office is supposed to do: pay the bills. It’s not her fault that there’s not enough money in the state’s checkbook. The bill backlog was $7.6 billion at the end of September, a hefty amount but far from the $16 billion it was during the two-year budget impasse.
Some of that progress is because of the tax increase that became effective in the middle of 2017. But another reason for the decline is that Mendoza pushed lawmakers to borrow money to pay down that backlog, in some cases taking the interest rate the state was paying from more than 12 percent to about 3 percent.
She is opposed by Republican candidate Darlene Senger and Libertarian Claire Ball.
Frerichs, a Democrat, is finishing his first term as Illinois treasurer and he has helped Illinoisans get the most for their money.
Frerichs championed legislation to require insurance companies to look back in their records to identify and pay beneficiaries of policies no longer in effect. That has helped many families get money they were owed.
Frerichs also pushed Secure Choice, a program to encourage Illinoisans who don’t have an employer-offered retirement savings program to get into a savings plan of their own.
He also is working to make it easier for you to get money that’s yours. There’s about $2.9 billion in unclaimed funds in the treasurer’s office. Frerichs has streamlined the process for you to reclaim that money. He’s also boosted the state’s 529 college savings accounts — Bright Start and Bright Directions.
Most important, he has done a good job of investing the state’s money. Investment earnings have increased from about $4 million a month to $22 million a month under his watch.
His opponents are Republican Jim Dodge and Libertarian Mike Leheney.
And about merging the offices as we mentioned at the beginning of this editorial: Frerichs voted for it when he was a state senator.
Frerichs and Mendoza make a good team managing the money the state has. They are endorsed.
Region: Northern,Feeds,City: Freeport,Editorial,Region: Rockford,Opinion
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October 23, 2018 at 03:03PM