Rutherford discusses Cash Dash, CAT, mental health closings

By Anna Yee

February 13, 2012 Updated Feb 13, 2012 at 7:26 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill. -- The State Treasurer brought some positive news to Central Illinois Monday, regarding money that could belong to you.

Dan Rutherford was in the Twin Cities to announce a major milestone for the Cash Dash program.

In just over a year, the treasurer's office has returned $102 million worth of unclaimed property back to the rightful owners. That's up about $20 million from the previous year.

Rutherford said that's money going back into the area's economy.

Meanwhile, Rutherford said the economic boost Central Illinois did not get after Caterpillar decided to relocate its plant elsewhere falls in the hands of Cat CEO Doug Oberhelman.

Many have been pointing their fingers at Governor Pat Quinn, blaming the unfriendly business climate in Illinois, but Rutherford said it is Oberhelman's job to handle the company's employment, which he says has not been growing locally.

"Whether the governor says it's a great business environment, the truth of the matter is companies that look to expand and locate are saying it's not," said Rutherford.

The state treasurer also said the state needs to improve its workers compensation structure, public policy, as well as the income tax rate, to draw more businesses.

Rutherford also weighed in on Quinn's controversial plan to close mental health centers throughout the state due to budget cuts. He suggested having a plan in place for the clients and employees after the facilities shut down.

Rutherford said he looks to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which uses a five-year plan to map out every move in accordance with the budget.

"There is a five year plan that you say today we need to look at architectural engineering, and so forth, so on, so you know where you're going in five years looking at building a bridge or road, as opposed to saying, 'tonight, we're going to build a road.' I don't see that too dissimilar from these major state facilities," said Rutherford.

The mental health facilities slated to close are located in Tinley Park and Jacksonville.

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