WIUM Tristates Public Radio

The Bully Pulpit of Public Office

Macomb, IL – The Republican candidate for Illinois Treasurer wants to use the office as a bully pulpit.

"Today you do not find the two financial officers of the state - the comptroller and the treasurer - being vocal in regards to the activities of government that are hampering job growth," said State Senator Dan Rutherford during a stop in Macomb.

"When you have tax initiatives that are passing by one party control of the General Assembly, I believe it's incumbent as the state treasurer to be that vocal opposition on how this does not help in regards to creating jobs in the state or retaining those that we have here already."

Rutherford also said he will speak up when he supports an idea. One such idea is the concept of using a managed care system for Medicaid.

"Medicaid is the largest single component of spending of our Illinois government," said Rutherford. "Finding a way to do it more efficiently, and I present to you the managed care system, has proven to work in other states and we have not done it in Illinois."

Rutherford said Medicaid and the pension system must be restructured. He said the pension reform bill signed by Governor Pat Quinn this spring is a good start but more must be done to make the system more efficient.

Rutherford said he has not signed a pledge promising to vote against an increase the income tax, but added he won't consider supporting an increase "...until I feel that we have basically and fundamentally restructured the expenditure side of our government."

Rutherford also said state government could be more efficient by merging the treasurer's office with the comptroller's office.

"If they can be consolidated in today's electronic auditing environment to be a safe and secure financial effort, we should do that," said Rutherford. "I support consolidating the offices of comptroller and treasurer."

Rutherford said he will sign an executive order upon taking office. It will require a performance audit of every program in the treasurer's office.

"I'm not suggesting there's any hinky stuff going on," said Rutherford. "But I want to see that every program is meeting what it's initial objective was and is giving the most efficient return for the taxpayers."

He does not believe that's been done in the treasurer's office.

Rutherford will face Democratic candidate Robin Kelly and the Green Party's Scott Summers in the November election. Current Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias is running for the US Senate.

You can listen to more of what Rutherford had to say by clicking on the audio button.