DuPage County Auditor Bob Grogan is seeking the Republican Party nomination for state Treasurer as current Treasurer Dan Rutherford has opted not to seek reelection and instead contend for the GOP nomination for Governor.
I recently had the chance to talk with Bob about his race.
First off, what sets you a part from the other candidates who have announced for the race and those rumored to be considering running?
"One, I'm the only one that's actually running. I've been in almost 40 counties now in the last five months. Beyond that being the County Auditor in DuPage, I'm a CPA and a certified fraud examiner. I have a strong record as far as financial acumen so I will be able to keep and watch over the people's money. I have a strong record of transparency putting DuPage Counties checkbook online when others said it couldn't be done. I'm not afraid to campaign and to walk precincts with folks and ring door bells."
If you were to be elected Treasurer what do you hope to accomplish?
"For the last decade or more the Democrats have been the ones to send you the tax bill and they're the ones that spend the money and you need someone trustworthy to watch over them. As one of the financial officers of the state, I'd have a duty to actually stand up and say we're paying 11 months of bills and that does not make for a balanced budget. Skipping pension payments does not count as fiscal responsibility. I used to audit pension plans so I hope to bring some clarity and vision on that issue so that we avoid accounting gimmicks which is very important in a state like Illinois."
What solutions do you have to fix Illinois' pension mess?
"Unfortunately it's taken us a couple of decades to get here. There is no single magic bullet to get us out of it. Obviously first you have to stop the bleeding."
Illinois has billions in unpaid bills what do you think we should do to ease that backlog?
"First thing is to spend less. We have to look at how much money we actually take in and then you divide up the pie from there. When you balance the budget in that regard the backlog will eventually be worked down with a whole bunch of other kinds of reforms mixed in. As far as the overall pie goes, the way you grow the pie is by growing the economy not by raising tax rates, that's the secret to more revenue. We can get more revenue by growing the economy and freeing up free enterprise. That's how you gain some ground on some of these past due bills."
There is a push on the left, endorsed by Democrat gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley, to move Illinois from a flat income tax to a progressive or graduation income tax what are your thoughts on that?
"I think that is a nonstarter. I don't think you give somebody a raise, which is what a tax increase is, when they haven't been doing their job well. We don't have a revenue problem. We have a growth of our economy problem and we spend too much and those are our problems."
You can learn more about Bob Grogan's effort to be Illinois Treasurer at his campaign website.
Also, read about the Illinois Treasurer's race in Illinois Review's "DuPage heavyweights contend for GOP treasurer nomination"