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Illinois Comptroller Rivals Differ On Merger Idea

The two candidates running for the job of state comptroller differ on a big issue hovering over the office. That's whether to eliminate the post by merging it with the treasurer's office.

Republican incumbent Judy Baar Topinka says combining offices saves money. But Democratic challenger Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon says there are other ways to cut costs.

Both detailed their views in Associated Press candidate questionnaires ahead of the November election.

The matchup between the GOP veteran and the daughter of late U.S. Sen. Paul Simon promises to be one of Illinois' most watched races.

The comptroller pays the state's bills, while the treasurer invests state money.

Topinka estimates a merger will save $12 million a year, but Simon says the offices should communicate better and reduce redundancies.

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