The Illinois State Fair is officially underway. For nearly one million of our residents, the state fair is as much a summer staple as corn on the cob or watermelon.
This year’s state fair is Aug. 13 – Aug. 23 in Springfield. Although the first fair, in 1853, was in the Capital City, the Illinois State Agricultural Society moved subsequent festivities throughout the state. During the next 40 years, fairgoers trekked to Alton, Centralia, Decatur, DuQuoin, Freeport, Jacksonville, Olney, Ottawa, Peoria, and Quincy. Chicago hosted the fair eight times.
The traveling proved to be too much. In the late 1890s, the decision was made to choose a permanent home. Aurora, Bloomington, Chicago, Decatur, Peoria, and Springfield sought to be the host. Eight ballots later, by a vote of 11-21, Springfield finally was chosen.
Like previous years, the Treasurer’s Office will have a tent. This year, I decided we would feature some of the tools that my office uses to help people help themselves. I also want to share with you that I will continue to work diligently to protect taxpayer dollars, advocate on behalf of consumers, and ensure Illinois residents get every dollar owed to them.
Consumer Protections: The office safeguards unclaimed property until their rightful owners can be found. So far this year, we have returned $1 million to schools and non-profits. We also make sure companies fulfil their promise and do the right thing.
College Savings: A child who knows that they have a college savings account is seven times more likely to attend college. Through the Treasurer’s Office, anyone can start an account for as little as $25. And you do not have to be related to the child to start their path to success.
Financial Education: People who understand the value of hard work make better financial decisions. Learning these lessons at an early age builds the foundation for more informed decision-making when money matters become complex.
As Treasurer, I am the state’s Chief Investment Officer. However, I also believe the office must invest in people. These are just some of the tools that are available in my office to help people invest in themselves.
Michael W. Frerichs