Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Sen. Lauzen on TV: Fox's Conaty, Blago, Pensions and "Kids."

This week’s suburban edition of “Public Affairs,” features State Senator Chris Lauzen [R-Aurora], a member of the Fab 5 group of State Senators first elected in 1992, and 1998 Republican nominee for Comptroller. This show will also air throughout the City of Chicago [in the regular “Public Affairs,” City of Chicago time slot] on next Monday night, July 18 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 [CANTV].
A partial transcript of the show with Senator Lauzen is included, below.
Jeff Berkowitz: …[A]nother point of view. Jack Conaty, he is a Fox pundit has said [something like] this [on Fox Chicago Perspectives--Every Sunday morning, 8:00 am- 9:00 am]—You know, a lot of these state government employees—they had kind of cushy jobs and then they got cushy pensions—these folks really didn’t deserve it. We just spoke about downstate and suburban teachers and administrators—they were kind of scamming the system with their local school boards, and so, Conaty says, “You are short funding the pensions, so what!” Thirty years later, these people aren’t going to get their pensions, but they shouldn’t have been getting them in the first place. So, maybe the money is better spent elsewhere. Maybe it is better not to raise taxes to cover this—maybe it isn’t so bad to short these pensions. What do you say to that?

Sen. Lauzen: …He obviously does not have a financial background. It is easy to be, perhaps, a host on a talk show, giving that kind of financial advice, but another generation will pay for that recklessness.

Berkowitz: Well, maybe, but to be fair to Jack…I am not even sure this was his view, he is saying, in terms of politics, a lot of people [voters] are reacting that way. They [voters who are not state government employee or downstate/suburban teachers] are not that concerned. The Republicans are making a big deal of this, but he [Jack Conaty] might be saying, “This is a loser for Republicans.” You are saying, “They should have raised taxes. They should have cut spending elsewhere [to fund the pensions].” So, Conaty may be saying—this may be a tough political sell for you and other Republicans, if this is going to be the issue the Republicans are going to run on for Governor, or something else.

Sen. Lauzen: I just—See, this is bizarre to me. And, it is disorienting…well, first of all, if any of my small business clients would do what this government did- the first time they did it they’d disqualify the tax deductibility of a person’s retirement plan- you know the small business retirement plan. The second time they’d do it, they would go to jail. And, yet the government that is responsible for enforcing law does it on their own and calls it a Public Act.

Berkowitz: …So, 30 years later, if the state pension funds are shorted and the unions bring a lawsuit and they argue that it says in the [Illinois] Constitution—the State has to keep the commitment to pay on the pensions, is it possible the Illinois State Supreme Court would say, “No, they don’t.” You know, the courts listen to the election returns, too. And, they don’t think it would be very popular if they ordered the legislature to raise taxes then or cut spending on other items. Maybe the courts say, “The Hell with it. These were bad deals [the state employee and suburban/downstate teacher pensions] and no, they don’t have to live by that commitment.”

Sen. Lauzen: I don’t believe that that would happen in a million years.

Berkowitz: So, your view is—

Sen. Lauzen: We are going to be stuck with this.

Berkowitz: Paying those taxes, Paying that—

Sen. Lauzen: And, that’s what I think is going to happen. The easy way out for these folks will be that they will just raise our taxes. You know, “do it for the kids.”
The whole controversy about education funding-you know, “for the kids.” That didn’t get them to raise the taxes, but now public pensions are going to because of this recklessness, it is just so bad.
State Senator Lauzen [R- Aurora], recorded on June 29, 2005 and as is airing on the Suburban edition of Public Affairs this week [week of July 11] and on the City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs on Monday night, July 18 at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21. See, below, for a detailed suburban airing schedule.
State Senator Lauzen debates and discusses with Show Host and Executive Legal Recruiter Jeff Berkowitz the resolution of the state budget deficit by the Governor and State Legislature in May, 2005, whether the Governor and the Democrats raided the state pension funds, short-changed the pension funds and/or restructured the pension funds; political consequences of the way the pension funds were handled by the Governor and legislature; State Comptroller’s Hynes’, Press Spokesperson Becky Carroll’s and John Filan’s statements, actions and role in the pension funding discussions and legislation; in-state tuition and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants, gay rights legislation, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, school choice 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