State Treasurer Giannoulias comes to campus to discuss the current economic situation with students

By Cayla Crisp

Illinois State Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias visited the University today at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs.

Giannoulias was elected as Illinois State Treasurer in 2006 at the age of 30, the youngest State Treasurer in the nation.

Giannoulias’ visit is part of the Edgar Leader Series, which works to bring leaders from state and national government to campus. He addressed some of the major financial problems facing America and Illinois today.

“These have been some of the most dramatic days in the history of the American marketplace. We’ve seen Lehman Brothers, which is a company that has been around since before the Civil War, one day they’re out.” he said. “Bear Stearns, gone, and the huge troubles with AIG and Merrill Lynch. We’re in completely uncharted waters.”

While he said the Treasurer’s office has not suffered major damage from the failings on Wall Street, the drops in the stock market have brought down the state’s interest income on investments by nearly 55 million from 2007 to 2008.

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“We don’t have any investments that we’re nervous about per se, but there is an overall impact on the state,” Giannoulias said. “We are very concerned that in Fiscal Year 09 that we will be in the 200 (million) range.”

Giannoulias was introduced to the group of around 100 people by former Republican Governor Jim Edgar. Edgar talked about the adversity Giannoulias faced while running for office.

“Except for Barack Obama, he had no endorsement from the Democratic party,” Edgar said. “He ran against the slate.”