SPRINGFIELD – Illinois Treasurer Dan Rutherford is proactively cutting his office budget by two percent and asking the state legislature to codify the reduction through legislation during this fall veto session. Rutherford appreciates the House’s passage (116-0) of House Bill 3848, sponsored by Rep. Sandy Cole (R-Grayslake) and Rep. Fred Crespo (D-Streamwood). The downsizing in the amount of general revenue operations funds appropriated to his office will result in a funding level that is lower than what it was ten years ago.
“Finances in the state of Illinois are a calamity. As a 25-year private sector businessman, I have performed a careful analysis of the treasurer's office budget – including input from an independent, volunteer, performance audit committee – and I have identified common sense ways to reduce my office's General Revenue Fund operations budget,” Rutherford said. “The budget I inherited when I took office was flat from the previous number of years. I made structural changes in the office while increasing results in services to taxpayers. Now, three months into the new fiscal year, the changes I made are paying off.”
Action steps taken to implement cost reductions:
- Reorganization of existing staff filled vacant director positions and eliminated other staff positions by combining job responsibilities and reassigning tasks.
- No across-the-board salary increases were given.
- Performance audit completed and recommendations implemented for efficiency and effectiveness.
- Fleet of taxpayer-funded vehicles reduced by 50 percent.
- Mobile phone usage paid by taxpayer funds initially reduced by 72 percent.
- Number of Chicago office phone lines reduced by 18 percent.
- Closure of satellite offices ordered in less than 24 hours from taking office.
- Redacted and reused tens of thousands of the former administration’s letterhead.
- Desktop calendars have been eliminated by 60 percent given that most workstations have versions that are paperless.
Even with the budget reductions, the office has attained significant results:
- Marketing of the Cash Dash program through September of this year has resulted in $12 million dollars more in cash and stock value returned to claimants than the same period last year, and more than one million additional web property searches.
- Low-cost loans made available through linked deposit programs utilized by small businesses and job creators have more than doubled.
- The Bright Start college savings program has seen a 27 percent increase in net contributions.
- Information technology systems have been upgraded.
“These are tight financial times for everyone,” Rutherford concluded. “As a business executive with private sector experience, I am going to streamline and manage my taxpayer budget with less. We will be lean while still improving the standard of performance for the citizens of Illinois.”