Tuesday, May 10, 2005

Churchill [Bob, not Winston] on Dollars and Deficits

State Rep. Bob Churchill: ...[H]e [the Governor] is going to say, “Well, you cut me by 700 million dollars.” We didn’t cut anything. All you are saying is that you have 800 million [new] dollars to spend, you don’t have 1.5 billion [new] dollars to spend. So, it’s not really a cut. It is just a decrease in what he [Gov. Blagojevich] has asked for.
This week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” features State Rep. Bob Churchill [R- Grayslake, 62nd District]. Churchill is also a potential candidate in the 8th Cong. Dist. Republican Primary for the right to carry the Republican flag against first term Congresswoman Melissa Bean [D- Barrington, 8th CD] in November, 2006.

For more on Churchill’s background, his primary competitors if he decides to run in the 8th CD and how the 8th CD Republican Primary race is shaping up, see here. For more on Rep. Churchill, the 62nd District and his positions on issues, see his state rep. campaign website here. For a detailed suburban airing schedule and for more about the topics discussed on this week’s show with Rep. Churchill, see the end of this blog entry. The show with State Rep. Churchill will also air throughout the City of Chicago [in the regular “Public Affairs,” City of Chicago time slot] on this coming Monday night, May 16 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].
Next week’s featured guest on the suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” is “would be” 17th District Democratic State Rep. candidate Judith-Rae Ross [D- Skokie]. Ross, a lecturer in History at DePaul University, came out of the starting blocks early—announcing her candidacy 10 months before the March, 2006 Democratic Primary. The 17th District seat has been held by the very hard working and very moderate Republican State Rep. Beth Coulson for the last nine years. For more about how Speaker Mike Madigan has targeted this seat in the past, incumbent State Rep. Beth Coulson, State Rep. Candidate Judith-Rae Ross and the future in the 17th District, see here.
Jeff Berkowitz: What is the projected [state] deficit as we sit here today on May 1, 2005?

State Rep. Bob Churchill: It depends on who you talk to?

Berkowitz: I am talking to you.

Rep. Churchill: Okay, I think that we have 800 million dollars that we didn’t have last year and if we spend them wisely, we’ll have no deficit.

Berkowitz: 800 million dollars… in new revenues, so you are saying that can take care of an 800 million dollar increase in expenditures and there would be no deficit?

Rep. Churchill: That’s correct. See, here’s the thing—

Berkowitz: Well, some people say that there needs to be greater spending [than last year]. For instance, in the Chicago Public Schools, would that [budget] have a zero increase in [the state portion of] spending for the Chicago Public Schools, under the scenario you just painted?

Rep. Churchill: Again, it depends on how you, again, you’ve got pressure, you’ve-

Berkowitz: I’m asking you. Say you are the person in charge here—

Rep. Churchill: No, I still think that you—I, uh, I was one of the people who originated and I am a great proponent of the theory that we take half of our new revenues and put that into education.

Berkowitz: So you take 400 million dollars—

Rep. Churchill: 400 million dollars and put that into education.

Berkowitz: What about Medicaid increases? Don’t those costs go up [as well]? Approximately 8% per year, right?

Rep. Churchill: Yeah, well, therein lies the basis of your question. You know, some people say there is a deficit. Well, depending on what you project with your expenditures—

Berkowitz: Don’t—to be reasonable, some of those things will go up. If not 8%, 3 or 4%,

Rep. Churchill: Sure.

Berkowitz: So if a number of categories go up—Health services may go up, in addition to Medicaid, other health services, other services for low income people [may go up in costs], you agree to that?

Rep. Churchill: Sure, absolutely

Berkowitz: So, taking all of that into account, I understand you could have no deficit, [but] what’s your best guess as to what the deficit is likely to be and how will it be handled? Or, how should it be handled?

Rep. Churchill: I think, you know, if the new revenues are going to be 800 million dollars…and if the Governor wants to spend 1.5 billion dollars [on new spending], then the gap becomes 700 million and then the question is what do you do with that 700 million [dollars]. Now the Governor’s program is to take money out of the pension system, instead of making full payments for the pensions—

Berkowitz: He [Gov. Blagojevich] wants pension reform. Do you oppose that pension reform?

Rep. Churchill: I appreciate the pension reform. I don’t appreciate how he’s going about doing it.
Rep. Churchill: Here’s what I don’t agree with him on [the pensions]. He wants to project out the cost over the next 40 years the savings from doing it [pensions] his way and then he wants to spend that [pension] savings in the next year or two.

Berkowitz: So, you object to how he [the Governor] “books,” the [pension] savings the but you don’t object to what he wants to do to reform the way in which pensions accumulate for employees, right?

Rep. Churchill: That’s correct…

Berkowitz: As we sit here today, you would not favor—however we call this deficit, whatever the reasons are—you wouldn’t favor an increase in the sales tax or the income tax to cover that deficit?

Rep. Churchill: That’s correct.

Berkowitz: Okay. And, you would like to see more cuts in spending as opposed to additional revenue sources, is that correct?

Rep. Churchill: That’s, well it’s not, it wouldn’t be cuts.

Berkowitz: Again, it’s cuts in the rate of growth of spending—would that be more accurate.

Rep. Churchill: It’s not even cuts in the rate, it’s- what you are doing is you are taking the Governor’s proposed expenditures and you are reducing the amount—you know, if you just take the amount of money that came in last year, and you take what the Governor proposed [in spending] and then you say—well, you only have 800 million [new] dollars [in revenue], he [the Governor] is going to say, “Well, you cut me by 700 million dollars.” We didn’t cut anything. All you are saying is that you have 800 million [new] dollars to spend, you don’t have 1.5 billion [new] dollars to spend. So, it’s not really a cut. It is just a decrease in what he [Gov. Blagojevich] has asked for.

Berkowitz: Okay.

Rep. Churchill: So, yeah, I want to see what he’s [Gov. Blagojevich] asked for be decreased. And, I think that in the area of pensions, I think that that’s-- ah- ah-- a serious thing that we have to take a look at, but I don’t think that provides the 750 million dollars that he sees-- where he is going to take that money and spend it.
State Rep. Bob Churchill [R- Grayslake, 62nd District], recorded on May 1, 2005 and as is airing on the Suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” this week [week of May 9] and as will be airing on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs on Monday night, May 16th at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21[CANTV]. See, conclusion of this blog entry, below, for a detailed suburban airing schedule.
State Rep. Bob Churchill debates and discusses with Show Host and Executive Legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz social security reform, federal taxes and tax cuts; the war in Iraq; education, school choice, unionization of the teachers in the 1980s and the Chicago Public Schools; state budget deficits, spending and taxes; Abortion and gay rights legislation; reform and reformers and much, much more.
The suburban edition of "Public Affairs," is regularly broadcast every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

The suburban edition also is broadcast every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette and every Tuesday night at 8:30 p.m. on Comcast Cable Channel 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.
Jeff Berkowitz, Host and Producer of Public Affairs and an Executive Recruiter doing Legal Search, can be reached at JBCG@aol.com