With all the taxes we pay every day, do you ever wonder where that money is going, or who decides where it goes?
As State Treasurer, it’s Mike Frerich’s job to protect taxpayers’ money and make informed investments for Illinois. This is why Frerichs is currently touring the state, explaining exactly how he’s putting taxpayers’ money to good use.
On Tuesday, Frerichs made a stop at the Jacksonville Area Chamber of Commerce. As Frerichs explains, education is among the most important investments.
“Really the most important part of my job is investing. It’s important because every dollar we’re able to raise in interest, is a dollar the General Assembly doesn’t need to raise in taxes, or a dollar they don’t need to make in cuts. But it’s also really important that we help give people the tools to invest in themselves, and the most important tool, I think, is education. We’re in charge of our state’s college savings plans, Bright Start and Bright Directions, and through those, parents can put aside money, invest it, invest in that account, it grows, and the growth that they spend on higher education is tax free,” says Frerichs. .
Coming from a farming background himself, Frerichs realizes the vitality of agriculture to the state’s economic health.
“We partner with the banks, we put money into banks. In some cases we’ll put a deposit in, we’ll say ‘we’ll a lower interest rate if you will link these deposits towards loans for a specific purpose,’ and our largest one of those programs is our state’s Ag-invest program. We put over a billion dollars in Illinois agriculture. We need to support (farmers) because agriculture is the number one industry in the state of Illinois, and if we want Illinois to continue to lead here, we need to make sure that these farmers …. we think of them as small family operations, when you look at how much money it takes to put a crop in the field and take it out, there’s nothing small about that,” Frerichs says. .
Frerichs went on to talk about the state’s investment in technology, and the jobs that often come as a result of doing so.
“Several years ago, the General Assembly passed this program called Technology Development Accounts, allowing Illinois to invest their money in basically technology companies…start up companies. The great thing there is, these are not grants, we’re not giving money away. We’re making investments like other people do in these companies and we expect to get a good return for the state of Illinois and we do. But the great thing is when you invest in Illinois companies, you help them to grow, they then employ more people. So that only brings more money into the state and makes the General Assembly’s job that much easier,” says Frerichs.
Another major program Frerichs touched on what the state’s new I-Cash program, which you can learn more about by visiting illinoistreasurer.gov.