* Press release…
Today, Jim Dodge, the Republican nominee for State Treasurer, and Darlene Senger, the Republican nominee for State Comptroller, issued a joint statement calling on the legislature to pass legislation consolidating the two offices:
“Illinois is facing a budget shortfall and a politician surplus. We urge the legislature to save taxpayer dollars by consolidating the offices of Treasurer and Comptroller.”
Dodge and Senger pointed out that most states have one Chief Financial Officer and that by dividing the duties between two constitutional officers the state is wasting money. It is estimated that consolidating the two offices could save taxpayers between $12 and $14 million.
Both candidates urged their Democratic opponents to join them in pledging to fight for consolidation.
“Mike Frerichs and Susana Mendoza should be a part of the Illinois budget solution, not part of the problem,” said Dodge.
“We shouldn’t feel comfortable asking Illinois taxpayers to tighten their belts and handover more of their hard-earned money, when political leaders in Springfield aren’t willing to do the same thing,” added Senger.
In 2012, the Illinois state Senate voted to place the question of consolidation on the ballot in the 2014 election. Democratic Speaker of the House Mike Madigan, however, blocked the provision from passing the House.
“The only consolidation Mike Madigan is interested in is the kind that consolidates his power, he is wholly uninterested in saving taxpayer dollars,” said Senger.
“Mike Frerichs and Susana Mendoza should have the political courage to stand up to Mike Madigan and to stand up for Illinois taxpayers,” concluded Dodge.
* Greg Hinz followed up…
“I voted to put (the merger) on the ballot,” Frerichs told me in a phone call. “Unlike Republicans, I’ve supported this idea whether Republicans or Democrats have held these jobs. When Leslie Munger was comptroller (she was unseated by Mendoza in the 2014 election), silence. . . .Why didn’t Republicans say something then?”
Frerichs also challenged whether the $12 million to $14 million in potential savings are real or “something in a press release.” In fact, his entire annual operating budget is only $7.6 million, Frerichs said. […]
“The framers of the state constitution were familiar with the potential for corruption in having one officer in charge of receiving money, investing it and paying it out. That’s because Orville Hodge embezzled $6 million in state funds in the ’50s. That’s $57 million in today’s money—far more than the phony projected savings number,” said a [Mendoza] spokesman, referring to the infamous former auditor of public accounts, which later became the comptroller’s office. “Not only could this still happen—it did happen as recently as 2012. Rita Crundwell was the combined comptroller and treasurer of Dixon, Ill. She was convicted of embezzling $53.7 million from the town’s taxpayers.”
The spokesman also pointed to Mendoza’s fight with Gov. Bruce Rauner over refinancing state debts, exchanging bonds that cost interest of 3.5 percent compared to IOUs that carried a 12 percent rate.