WBEZ | Treasurer Dan Rutherford http://www.wbez.org/tags/treasurer-dan-rutherford Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Illinois treasurer disagrees with Quinn's prison closing plan http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-treasurer-disagrees-quinns-prison-closing-plan-92964 <p><p>Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said Friday he disagrees with Governor Pat Quinn's handling of potential state prison closings. This week, <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/arbitrator-rules-against-quinns-plan-layoff-state-workers-close-facilities-92750">an arbitrator ordered</a> Quinn to cancel his proposal to lay off state employees and close several facilities.</p><p>But Rutherford, a republican, said the democratic Governor needs a long-term plan for shutting prisons and a mental health facility.</p><p>"I think that a press conference on a Monday at 10:30 saying that you're going to close seven state facilities, without having a plan in place, causes a great deal of concern for the local communities where those facilities are based," said Rutherford, "a great deal of concern for the employees working for those facilities, and a great deal of concern for the residents of those facilities that are being serviced, whether they're an incarcerated person in the prison, or those with developmental disabilities."</p><p>Rutherford said he thinks some prisons could be adapted into other state-run facilities, like drug rehab centers or nursing homes, because the property is already an asset the state owns, with trained employees.</p><p>"I believe that Illinois should put together a strategic, long-range plan on how to deal with these types of institutions. If we have an institution that is archaic, does not fulfill the mission it was tasked with from the beginning, then let's plan towards it."</p><p>Quinn said this week he's willing to consider re-allocating money to avoid a prison closing. However, he's resistant to borrowing cash to do so.</p></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 22:14:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/illinois-treasurer-disagrees-quinns-prison-closing-plan-92964 Rutherford cuts office budget by 2 percent http://www.wbez.org/story/rutherford-cuts-office-budget-2-percent-92963 <p><p>Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said Friday he's cutting his office budget 2 percent for next fiscal year, which will make his $8.4 million operating budget lower than it was a decade years ago.&nbsp;But he said he also wants the state legislature to permanently reduce the money the treasurer's office gets annually.&nbsp;</p><p>"I believe it's important to statutorily redo my budget, and that's why I'm introducing an apropos bill for a decrease," Rutherford. "That way the money will be well know, it'll be available if the general assembly decides they want to put it towards paying off bills, they want to use it for debt retirement, let them decide -- I'm going to make it available."</p><p>To make these cuts, the treasurer reorganized his staff and cut small costs, like reusing the former administration's letterhead. And he's willing, in his words, "to see if, as we progress, if there's more there I can curtail. I'm all about it."</p><p>Rutherford said he'd use the $180,000 a year in savings to chip away at the state's debt. The tax watchdog group Civic Federation projected last week that Illinois will end the 2012 fiscal year $8.3 billion in the red.</p></p> Fri, 07 Oct 2011 20:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/rutherford-cuts-office-budget-2-percent-92963 Insiders got early notice of college savings deal http://www.wbez.org/story/insiders-got-early-notice-college-savings-deal-88511 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-29/4331079792_a8a3665d41.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>People with connections to the Illinois treasurer's office got early notice of a limited offer that added cash to college savings accounts, giving them an edge over thousands of people who were shut out of the deal.&nbsp;</p><p>Treasurer Dan Rutherford tells the Chicago Tribune that early word was sent out solely as a promotion because officials weren't sure the new offer would be popular. Rutherford says it was a mistake that won't happen again.&nbsp;</p><p>The offer was for the Bright Start savings program. People could deposit up to $250 and have that money matched by the firm running the program.</p><p>It was limited to 2,500 slots, which were filled before many people even learned of the offer.</p></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 15:48:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/insiders-got-early-notice-college-savings-deal-88511 Politicians react to Blagojevich verdict http://www.wbez.org/story/politicians-react-blagojevich-verdict-88411 <p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Pat Brady:</strong></p><p><strong>Illinois Republican Party Chairman</strong></p><p>“I'm glad that the verdict is finally in on Rod Blagojevich. However this closes only one chapter of Democrat corruption in Illinois. Illinois Democratic politicians who now try everything they can to hide their past support of Rod Blagojevich should look themselves in the mirror and remind themselves that little has changed since the day Blagojevich was arrested.</p><p>“Our current governor (Pat Quinn) has appointed lame duck legislators to high paid positions after they changed their views and voted for late night tax hikes. The Speaker of the Illinois House (and state Democratic Party Chairman Mike Madigan) is partner in a law firm that has reaped millions in appealing tax assessments in a relationship that even Forrest Claypool (now a member of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Administration) said ‘has caused our taxes to go up and the level of faith in government to go down.’”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>John Cullerton:</strong></p><p><strong>Statement from Illinois Senate President John Cullerton:</strong></p><p>"Once again, the former governor's pattern of dishonesty has been confirmed. I thank the jury for its public service. Just as it was sad but necessary for the Senate to remove him from office, today is another sad event for Illinois. I would hope that this verdict would further allow us as a state to move on and ahead."</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>David Morrison: </strong></p><p><strong>Deputy Director, Illinois Campaign for Political Reform </strong></p><p>“The jury today has ratified the sense of millions of Illinoisans, that Rod Blagojevich was a pox on Illinois' political system. His conviction also serves as a warning that no one is above the law and that anyone today thinking of abusing the public trust for their private benefit should consider the very real consequences. The jury today made clear that criminal acts are not "just politics." Blagojevich, and many of his advisors and staff, are facing serious prison time, financial penalties, and separation from their families and friends.</p><p>“Illinois has taken great strides to ensure that the next scandal will not follow the&nbsp;Blagojevich blueprint. Today's laws make it much harder to commit yesterday's actions. But preventing tomorrow's scandals require more vigilance. Voters must accountability from candidates. Officeholders must stand ready to call out their wavering colleagues. Staffers must understand the risks they take when they follow criminal orders. Reform is possible, one step at a time, and Illinois has a long road ahead.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Dan Rutherford: </strong></p><p><strong>Illinois State Treasurer</strong></p><p>“The guilty verdict against former Governor Rod Blagojevich closes a long, embarrassing chapter for the citizens of Illinois. He deserves everything he’s going to get.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Judy Baar Topinka:</strong></p><p><strong>Illinois Comptroller </strong></p><p>"I am heartened by the Jury's verdict against Rod Blagojevich, and pleased to see justice after many months of waiting. But make no mistake: this is nothing to celebrate. Through his unconscionable behavior and reckless leadership, Blagojevich inflicted damage on Illinois that will take years, if not generations, to repair. He broke the public trust and mismanaged dollars with a zeal that was unique even in our storied state.</p><p>"I find his behavior reprehensible and am personally pleased to see him held responsible. But more important, I hope that today's verdict delivers a reminder that elected leaders serve the public, not the other way around - and they will be held accountable, even if it takes a while.</p><p>“While I look forward to turning the page on Blagojevich, I hope that the lessons learned from his prosecution live on. Ironically, it would prove to be his greatest contribution to our state."</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Adam Kinzinger:</strong></p><p><strong>Republican U.S. Representative</strong></p><p>“Rod Blagojevich never seemed to understand the difference between serving the public and serving his personal self interests. The evidence presented and verdict confirms that he was found guilty of seventeen of the twenty counts including wire fraud, attempted extortion and attempting to sell President Obama's old Senate seat, but far worse, he abused and shattered public trust. The shame and national embarrassment Blagojevich cast onto our state has only created further financial bearing.&nbsp;</p><p>"I applaud the U.S. Attorney’s office for their hard work, dedication and effort to see to it that justice has somewhat been served.&nbsp; Unfortunately, Blagojevich's verdict and punishment will not restore statewide, much less nationwide certainty in Illinois.&nbsp; We must now move beyond Rod Blagojevich and turn our focus toward working together to rebuild Illinois.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Jeff Schoenberg:</strong></p><p><strong>Senator, 9th District, Assistant Majority Leader</strong></p><p>"With this guilty verdict, Illinois has now been shamed once again as its second consecutive chief executive has failed its citizens in the most fundamental way possible. We must all redouble our efforts to restore confidence and integrity to Illinois government."</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Dick Durbin:</strong></p><p><strong>Democratic U.S. Senator </strong></p><p>“I hope today’s verdict finally draws this sad and sordid chapter in Illinois history to a close.”</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Bill Brady:</strong></p><p><strong>State Senator, Bloomington</strong></p><p>“I believe our state will grow stronger as a result of the conviction of Rod Blagojevich today.&nbsp; Rod Blagojevich abused the office of Governor and made every attempt to capitalize on his public office for personal and political benefit.</p><p>“His overwhelming conviction today should serve as yet another reminder that public officials are in office to serve the public and not their own personal interests and ambitions.&nbsp; We have made some progress in ending pay-to-play politics in Illinois, but the decision today underscores the need for us in government to continue our work to earn the trust and confidence of our citizens.”</p></p> Mon, 27 Jun 2011 21:06:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/politicians-react-blagojevich-verdict-88411 Thousands miss out on Ill. college savings offer http://www.wbez.org/story/thousands-miss-out-ill-college-savings-offer-87645 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-09/AP110110155584.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Illinois treasurer has bad news for thousands of people who put money into college savings accounts last week: They're not getting a matching donation they had expected.</p><p>Participants in the Bright Start savings program were told that deposits of up to $250 would be matched dollar for dollar. The offer was limited to the first&nbsp; 2,500 people.</p><p>But the <a href="https://www.brightstartsavings.com/">Bright Start website</a> didn't display up-to-date information. It showed the matching money was still available even after all 2,500 slots had been filled.</p><p>Thousands of people contributed after the limit was reached and won't be getting the extra money.&nbsp;</p><p>A spokeswoman for Treasurer Dan Rutherford says they're not sure how many people were affected. The office is working with Oppenheimer Funds to&nbsp; figure out what went wrong.<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br> (Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press.&nbsp; All Rights Reserved.)<br> &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br> &nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 09 Jun 2011 17:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/thousands-miss-out-ill-college-savings-offer-87645 Illinois pols weigh in on state budget address http://www.wbez.org/story/budget-address/illinois-pols-weigh-state-budget-address <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/IMG_7188_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn did not bring up changing state employee benefits in his budget address, but that doesn't mean the idea is dead.</p><p>Even if Quinn wants to spare current and retiree benefits, he stayed away from the issue entirely during his speech Wednesday, but Democratic House Speaker Mike Madigan said a change is necessary based on the state's financial condition.</p><p>&quot;I'm not saying we're going to go back to the public employee and say OK there was a promise and we're going to take that away from you,&quot;&nbsp;Madigan said. &quot;What I am saying is there is a benefit plan in place until today. Starting tomorrow there's going to be a new benefit plan that's not going to be as rich as the old.&quot;</p><p>Madigan said along with those who work for the state, public school teachers and those in higher education could be affected. But there is still plenty of disagreement in the legislature over changing benefits.</p><p>Madigan, speaking on the public TV program <em>Illinois Lawmakers</em>, again made a call for changes in education. Ideas under discussion include basing a teacher's pay on performance, restricting teacher tenure and changing the collective bargaining process.</p><p>Quinn said Wednesday he wants to borrow almost $9 billion and increase spending by $2 billion.</p><p>Some Republican legislators have said they would not support more borrowing.</p><p>But Republican Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford said he's not opposed to borrowing billions of dollars to help the state pay its bills.</p><p>Treasurer Rutherford said without the borrowing plan, the state wouldn't have money to pay its vendors.</p><p>&quot;Yes, there is increased spending here. Some of it - there is reasons to it,&quot;&nbsp;Rutherford said. &quot;Yes, there is further borrowing that the governor's called to, but, under the right configuration, it may be somewhat appropriate or configured to be appropriate.&quot;</p><p>Legislators recently approved some tax increases. Rutherford says that new money hasn't come in yet, so a borrowing plan would allow the state to pay its bills now and not put them off.</p></p> Thu, 17 Feb 2011 13:42:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/budget-address/illinois-pols-weigh-state-budget-address