A RECENT BND editorial mistakenly suggested that my push to save Illinois taxpayers more than $12 million annually by combining the state's fiscal offices has been put on the back burner. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The fact is that our consolidation movement continues to gain support and it remains a top priority of mine as state comptroller.
One of the reasons I ran for office four years ago was to make the common sense change of merging the offices of state treasurer and comptroller. It defies logic for taxpayers to pay for two constitutional offices with two staffs, two computer systems, two sets of equipment and two of everything else. Why not merge them, improve efficiency and save $12 million annually to boot?
After being elected comptroller I introduced legislation to allow voters to pass a constitutional amendment making the change and worked to build bipartisan support in the General Assembly. Our bill unanimously passed the Senate and more than 50 House members -- Democrats and Republicans -- co-sponsored the legislation. Unfortunately, it was never put up for a vote in the House.
I know that if given the chance, House members would overwhelmingly support consolidation. And there is not a doubt in my mind that taxpayers would jump at the chance to see their money saved by downsizing government. But they each need to be given that opportunity.
To that end, I am working to build public pressure by talking about this issue every time I get the chance. I continue to encourage lawmakers to speak up and work to move the legislation through the General Assembly. And as a born fighter, I am committed to continuing to press this matter until we get it done.
When it comes to consolidation, the question is "when," not "if."
Judy Baar Topinka
Illinois State Comptroller