Progress on Behalf of You
From Michael W. Frerichs, Illinois State Treasurer
Each year, state law requires various office holders to submit an annual report to the General Assembly.
The report identifies progress that has been made on behalf of Illinois taxpayers.
Too often, however, these reports seem to gather dust.
That is why I thought I would tell you directly about the positive steps that we have made on your behalf.
As many of you know, the Treasurer is the state’s Chief Investment Officer. A shift in investment strategy allowed us to double quarterly investment income. Each dollar we make through our investments is a dollar that can be used to pay down our debt.
However, we must do more than simply invest money. We also must invest in people.
This year, our fight to protect families reached new heights. We passed the Life Insurance Reform Act, ensuring grieving families will be paid death benefits in a more timely fashion. Incredibly, some life insurance companies maintained that they were not obligated to pay if the survivor did not make a formal request, including heirs that are young children or adults with a cognitive disability. Millions of dollars will be returned to Illinois families from this reform.
We also made sweeping changes to our Bright Start and Bright Directions college savings programs to make it easier and less expensive to save for college. Illinois now has the highest rated advisor- and direct-sold plans in the country.
We are making it easier for individuals with a disability to save their own money without federal penalties. Our national leadership in the Achieving a Better Life Experience program continues to be the standard against which other programs are measured.
Finally, our commitment to military families has never been stronger. Among the unclaimed property items we secure are military medals. Our effort to locate these soldiers or their heirs is an important mission and these bittersweet reunions are profoundly moving. In the past year, we have returned Purple Hearts and Service Medals from World War II, Korea, and Vietnam.
This is not to say that everything in our state government is positive. Clearly, that is not the case. However, I still believe Illinois holds great promise. I look forward to doing everything I can in 2018 to make Illinois a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
From all of us here at the Illinois Treasurer’s Office, Happy Holidays to you and your family. And, cheers to a Happy New Year