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State Treasurer - RG 104 | Illinois State Archives

Name: State Treasurer - RG 104

Historical Note:

The Illinois Treasurer's office was established in 1812 when Illinois became a territory of the second grade (Terr. L. 1812, p. 5). The 1818 Constitution called for the State Treasurer to be appointed biennially by a joint vote of the General Assembly. Under the Constitution of 1848 the method of selection was changed to popular election but the two-year term was retained. This provision remained in effect until 1959 when a constitutional amendment increased the term to four years. Under the Constitution of 1870 the State Treasurer was prohibited from succeeding himself. This restriction continued in force until the 1970 Constitution removed it.

In 1819 the General Assembly passed an act outlining the primary functions of the State Treasurer and the Auditor of Public Accounts (L. 1819, p. 240). The Treasurer was made responsible for receiving the proceeds of all taxes and other public moneys of the state and for making payments of authorized disbursements from the State Treasury. Such payments could be made only on warrants or certificates issued by the Auditor which were countersigned by the Treasurer. The Treasurer was required to deliver to the Auditor a monthly account detailing all receipts and disbursements made from the State Treasury. He also was to return all warrants on which disbursements had been made for cancellation by the Auditor.

Another important duty of the State Treasurer is the investment of state funds. This function began in 1908 when legislation required the Treasurer to deposit all moneys received on account of the state in state banks (L. 1907, Adj. Sess., p. 32). Initially banks for such deposits were chosen solely by the Treasurer; they were to be institutions which in his opinion were secure and would pay the highest rate of interest. The procedures changed somewhat in 1919 when legislation required all banks wishing to receive state deposits to file sealed proposals concerning interest rates and other terms of deposits (L. 1919, p. 954). Banks receiving state funds were required also to deposit securities with the Treasurer which were equal in market value to the amount of state funds deposited. Subsequent legislation has given the Treasurer an increasing number of options for investing state monies. These include investing in U.S. Treasury bills (L. 1937, p. 1209), shares and investment certificates of savings and building and loan associations (L. 1947, p. 1717), and bonds of counties and municipal corporations (L. 1955, p. 1207).

The State Treasurer also has performed a number of other duties relating to state finances over the years. He has countersigned most state issues of bonded indebtedness and has served as a trustee of local bond funds established in the State Treasury for payment of principal and interest on bonds issued by local governmental units. He also has been designated ex officio custodian of certain monies granted to the state by agencies of the federal government, including those dealing with Social Security, forest lands, and the Federal Emergency Administration of Public Works (L. 1939, p. 1166); flood control and navigation (L. 1955, p. 1867); and highways (L. 1957, p. 375). The Treasurer has served as an ex officio member of a wide variety of boards and commissions including the State Canvassing Board (L. 1825, p. 3; L. 1871, p. 380), the Commissioners of State Contracts (Rev. Stat. 1874, p. 993), World War I and World War II Service Recognition Boards (L. 1921, p. 66; L. 1946, p. 2), and the Public Aid Commission (L. 1941, vol. I, p. 296). He has served also as trustee for state retirement funds established for teachers (L. 1915, p. 649) and judges (L. 1941, vol. I, p. 527) and as ex officio treasurer of the State Employees' Retirement System (L. 1943, vol. 2, p. 350).

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