Champaign Democrat Mike Frerichs isn’t the state treasurer yet — that happens Monday — but it looks like he’ll have at least two issues occupying much of his time in 2015.
One is the long-stalled proposal to merge the treasurer’s and comptroller’s office, an idea that gained momentum with the death of Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka last month.
He issued a carefully worded statement Tuesday congratulating comptroller-appointee Leslie Munger, and committing himself “to eliminating the comptroller’s office.”
In fact, no fewer than four times in his four-paragraph statement did Frerichs mention getting rid of the comptroller, rather than getting rid of the treasurer or simply combining the offices.
“I hope we can eliminate the comptroller’s office at the next election in 2016,” he said. “By eliminating the comptroller’s office immediately at the next election, rather than waiting until 2018, we can save the taxpayers an additional $24 million.”
The other major initiative is groundbreaking legislation signed earlier this week by outgoing Gov. Pat Quinn establishing the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program.
The program requires most Illinois employers to establish a retirement-savings program for their employees. Starting June 1, 2017, they’ll be automatically enrolled in an individual retirement account, funded through a 3 percent payroll deduction. Participation by employees is voluntary, but workers who don’t want to take part have to act to opt out.
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