Better than Chris Wallace w/Bill Clinton: Watch Berkowitz w/Illinois Policy Institute's Collin Hitt on Web/Cable on Pension Reform

Collin Hitt [Sr. Director of Government Affairs, the Illinois Policy Institute]: …The fact is we are now running out of money. Over the last five years, about 80% of all new money in higher education is going to new retirement costs…that’s why you’re seeing Democrats currently get on board with pension reform, [state employee pensions are]  eating into their favorite programs.

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This week's Chicago Suburban edition of Public Affairs, featuring Collin Hitt, the Illinois Policy Institute's Sr. Director of Government Affairs in Springfield, debating and discussing Illinois pension reform, budget and tax issues  with show host Jeff Berkowitz, airs tonight in 24 North and Northwest Chicago suburbs at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 19 or Cable Ch. 35  (See, below, for a detailed airing schedule of the show).

You can also watch the show with the Policy Institute's Collin Hitt on the web 24/7. 

You can also watch the show in the North Shore suburbs tomorrow night at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 19, including Winnetka and nine other North Shore suburbs (See, below, for a detailed airing schedule).

You can also watch the show with Collin Hitt throughout the City of Chicago next Monday night at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21 (CANTV). 

You can also watch the show with Hitt this week around the State of Illinois on the Illinois Channel:  Please go to the Illinoischannel.org and click on Distribution to learn the day and time the two hour special on pension reform will be airing in your Illinois community.  

You can also watch the entire two hour Illinois Channel programming on pension reform, including segments with Sen. Bill Brady (R-Bloomington), State Rep. Elaine Nekritz (D-Park Ridge), the Illinois Policy Institute's HItt and Mayor Rahm Emanuel by clicking here

You can also watch the Public Affairs pension reform show with Hitt this Thursday night on Rockford Cable Ch. 17 at both 7:05 pm and 8:30 pm throughout the City of Rockford and in surrounding suburbs.  You can watch the entire two hour Illinois Channel special in Rockford on Pension Reform by clicking on Cable Ch. 17 from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.

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The "Public Affairs" show on Pension Reform with the Illinois Policy Institute's  Collin Hitt  airs tomorrow night in its new, regular, twice weekly (Monday and Wednesday) slot at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable Ch. 19 in ten North Shore political junkie/voter/media executive rich suburbs:  Bannockburn, Deerfield, Ft. Sheridan, Glencoe, Highland Park, Highwood, Kenilworth, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods and Winnetka.

The Public Affairs show on state government employee/teacher pension reform featuring the Illinois Policy Institute's Collin Hitt airs tonight at 8:30 pm on Comcast Cable on

Ch. 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, parts of Inverness, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette.

and on

Comcast Cable Ch. 35 in Arlington Heights, Bartlett, Glenview, Golf, Des Plaines, Hanover Park, Mt. Prospect, Northbrook, Park Ridge, Prospect Heights, Schaumburg, Skokie, Streamwood and Wheeling.

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You can also watch the show24/7 with the Illinois Policy Institute's Collin Hitt here 

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The City of Chicago edition of Public Affairs, featuring Collin Hitt, will air next Monday night, May 21, 2012, at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 21, throughout the City of Chicago.

Nest Week's suburban edition of Public Affairs features State Rep. Daniel Biss (D-Evanston)  debating and discussing with show host Jeff Berkowitz  Illinois state employee pension reform. You can also watch the show with Rep. Biss 24/7 here.   

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Collin Hitt [Sr. Director of Government Affairs, the Illinois Policy Institute]: …The fact is we are now running out of money. Over the last five years, about 80% of all new money in higher education is going to new retirement costs…that’s why you’re seeing Democrats currently get on board with pension reform, [state employee pensions are]  eating into their favorite programs.

Jeff Berkowitz: …So, those are basically the factors, everybody would agree there’s not some hidden pile of money, here, like somebody might say, “Oh, the corporations should pay, as if they have a bag of money. Corporations are just shareholders, employees and customers, right"?

Collin Hitt: That’s right.

Jeff Berkowitz: So, the point is, is there agreement? Those factors I’ve just mentioned, would you say that all the players agree, that’s where the solutions come from and now the question is which factors should be more important: should there be higher employee contributions, should the COLA be changed, [should the retirement age be increased, etc.] … so are we just dealing with [choosing] the parameters now? Everybody is in the game and they know, sort of, what has to be done—now they differ in the sense of which factor will be relied on more [to solve the pension problem].

Collin Hitt: That’s kind of the nature of the conversation in Springfield

Jeff Berkowitz: Except for the unions…

Collin Hitt: Except for the unions, right.

Jeff Berkowitz: But, even the unions- I think the Illinois Federation of Teachers (“IFT”), Rep. Biss told me, [as to his proposals] which do require givebacks and modifications by the unions, the IFT said they are not for or against Biss’ proposals, they are neutral. Would you say that is progress?

Collin Hitt: Well, with due respect to Rep. Biss’ thoughtfulness for his proposals, his proposals aren’t on the cusp of passage, either. That’s really when you see where the unions stand, once they think your legislation has a chance of becoming law.

Jeff Berkowitz: …So, [that’s when the unions would oppose it], you’re saying they don’t have to oppose it now, that’s your prediction.

Collin Hitt:  …We’d really find out [the unions' positon then], Then we’ll know. And, that’s not just about pensions. That’s about every subject. Your incentive is not to show your hand early in politics.

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Collin Hitt: The best way going forward with current people’s benefits and with new employees is to move to a system that is centered on a defined contribution [pension] system.

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