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Bill proposes merging Illinois treasurer, comptroller offices

New comptroller would be last one

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015 10:58 a.m. CDT
(Seth Perlman)
FILE - In this Nov. 19, 2014, file photo, incoming Democratic Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs, D-Champaign, speaks to reporters during a news conference in Springfield, Ill. The unexpected death of Republican Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka has led to a renewed conversation about combining the officeís duties with those of the state treasurer, with lawmakers and newspapers urging the adoption of the idea thatís been discussed for more than 40 years. Outgoing Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon has has suggested that the incoming treasurer Frerichs be appointed comptroller in the new year and that the offices should share functions through an intergovernmental agreement. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman,File)

SPRINGFIELD – A measure to replace the Illinois treasurer and comptroller with a single official may be revived Thursday morning in the state Senate.

State Sen. Matt Murphy, R-Palatine, said a bill he co-sponsored with Sen. Kwame Raoul, D-Chicago, will be considered by the Senate’s executive committee.

The House and Senate return to Springfield on Thursday for a special session called by Gov. Pat Quinn.

The bill proposes to amend the state constitution to eliminate both the statewide offices and instead create a comptroller of the treasury.

Murphy said the measure could save taxpayers $12 million to $13 million.

Quinn, who leaves office on Jan. 12 when Governor-elect Bruce Rauner is sworn in, wants a special election for comptroller to take place in 2016.

Rauner contends his appointee, Republican Leslie Munger of Lincolnshire, should serve for four years.

Those four years represent the term of then-incumbent comptroller and November election winner Judy Baar Topinka, R-Riverside, who died earlier this month.

To date, Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, has supported Quinn’s stance while House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, has remained publicly ambivalent.

There’s no guarantee a bill regarding the comptroller’s office — or any bills — will come out of the special session.

Said Murphy, “If we’re going to have a special session to talk about special elections for comptroller, why don’t we talk about abolishing comptroller?”

The proposed constitutional amendment, if passed in the Legislature, would go onto ballots in 2016. If approved by voters, it would consolidate the offices in time for the 2018 elections.

Murphy says that avoids an unnecessary constitutional battle and Munger would simply become Illinois’ last comptroller.

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