State Rep. Ron Sandack: Oh, I could easily cut 1.6 billion dollars [from the IL Budget]
Jeff Berkowitz: Well, do it. Right now.
Tonight’s Chicago Metro North and Northwestern suburban edition of "Public Affairs," features State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove, 81st District). The show airs in 24 N and NW Chicago Metro suburbs at 8:30 pm on Cable Ch. 19 or 35. See below for a detailed airing schedule in those suburbs and also for Aurora and Rockford. Also, read below a partial transcript of the show, which details Rep. Sandack's proposed cuts to balance the Fiscal 2015 budget.
The show builds on a panel discussion, hosted by Carol Marin on Chicago Tonight on June 2, 2014, with Rep. Sandack, Sen. Connelly (R-Wheaton), Rep. Nekritz (D-Northbrook) and Sen. Steans (D-Chicago). The thesis of the Chicago Tonight session, as led by Carol Marin was that the public is fed up with state legislators who don’t work together, in a bi-partisan way, to fill the “Budget hole.” She didn’t quite say it, but it is clear that Carol thinks the problem is too little revenue, not too much spending.
Carol didn’t seem to hear the Republicans on the show who said, “IL has a spending problem, not a revenue problem.” Had she heard that, Marin might have asked Sandack and Connelly to explain what cuts in spending they would have made to solve the spending problem. She never asked that--kind of an obvious omission.
On tonight’s Chicago episode of “Public Affairs,” taped two days later, June 4, host Berkowitz asked Rep. Sandack to outline his spending cuts (1.6 Billion dollars) needed to solve the budget deficit, while letting the state income tax rate decrease, as scheduled, to 3.75 %. Sandack did that for the 2014-15 fiscal year.
And, you can read those suggested budget cuts of Sandack, below. Bruce Rauner, are you watching? Reading?
This is what happens when you have the ideological balance that WTTW lacks (they have no hosts or correspondents who understand or are Republicans). That is, with balance, you get fair, probing questions that help the viewers understand the issues. [More about the bias of WTTW’s Chicago Tonight hosts/correspondents in future posts].
Also discussed on tonight’s program are same sex marriage and school vouchers-school choice.
The “Public Affairs,” TV show featuring State Rep. Sandack airs:
--tonight at 8:30 pm in the below listed 24 North and Northwest Chicago Metro suburbs on the indicated channels:
Comcast Cable Ch. 19 in Buffalo Grove, Elk Grove Village, Hoffman Estates, parts of Inverness, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, Niles, Northfield, Palatine, Rolling Meadows and Wilmette.
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.
--tomorrow night and Saturday night at 6:00 pm on Aurora Community Television, Cable Ch. 10, aka ACTV-10. This viewing area includes Aurora, North Aurora, Montgomery, Oswego and some additional viewing areas.
-- on Thursday night at 8:30 pm on Rockford Cable Ch. 17 in Rockford and surrounding areas
Jeff Berkowitz: So, the budget for the next fiscal year (2015), spending goes to 36 billion dollars?
State Rep. Ron Sandack (R-Downers Grove): Right.
Jeff Berkowitz: And the revenue for that fiscal year, if you assume they don’t do that lame duck tax increase you predict the legislature will [ram thru, and Quinn will sign before he leaves office –if he loses in Nov, 2014] is...
State Rep. Ron Sandack: ...34.4 billion dollars...that’s a fair estimate, based on the ...Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability estimates
Jeff Berkowitz:..., so you guys are about 1.6 billion dollars short if [the Democratic Majorities] don’t do what you said they would [that is, increase the income tax rate back up to 5.0%, from the scheduled decrease to 3.75%]. Now, Ron Sandack, tell the people where would you cut 1.6 billion dollars [to balance the Illinois Fiscal 2015 budget]
State Rep. Ron Sandack: Oh, I could easily cut 1.6 billion dollars.
Jeff Berkowitz: Well, do it. Right now.
Rep. Ron Sandack: I will. Here is what I know. Medicaid, which is expanding $300 million dollars, one year over the next, I wouldn’t do that. Second,
Jeff Berkowitz: Medicaid is expanding how much each year?
Rep. Ron Sandack: $300 million
Jeff Berkowitz: Ok, so you save $300 million by preventing Medicaid’s annual expansion [The 2% COLA?]
Rep. Ron Sandack: Right off the top. Second, I would go back and implement the Smart Act, which was stopped ...dead in its tracks. The Smart Act brought in a third party to scrub the Medicaid rolls to insure that those who should be getting Medicaid got it [...and those who shouldn’t based on income, assets, etc. didn’t]
Jeff Berkowitz: So, that would save you how much?
Rep. Ron Sandack: Almost $800 million dollars.
Jeff Berkowitz: So, that means you are knocking off the rolls a lot of people who are not technically eligible for Medicaid...So, you have now saved $1.1 billion and you must find $500 million more in savings.
Rep. Ron Sandack: Here’s how you do that. You remember the Neighborhood Recovery Initiative (now being investigated by a legislative bi-partisan committee for suspected massive fraud to help elect Gov. Quinn in 2010), so I know for a fact a portion of the discretionary budget that Pat Quinn is able to spend equates to Waste, Fraud and Abuse. I don’t know what that number is—
Jeff Berkowitz: So, assume it is $300 million, now you have $200 million dollars to save, how are you going to do that?
Rep. Ron Sandack: I can do it anywhere [in several areas]....The Department of Aging, a department that is fraught with waste, fraud and abuse
Jeff Berkowitz: So, [the Republicans] are going to run on that, telling old people the Republicans are cutting their assistance?
Rep. Ron Sandack: No, I am cutting “Fat, fraud and abuse.”
Jeff Berkowitz: There is no line item that says “Fat, fraud and abuse.”
Rep. Ron Sandack: No, but it is in every department of state government.
Jeff Berkowitz: You sure?
Rep. Ron Sandack: Yes.
Jeff Berkowitz: What percentage of the state government is waste, fraud and abuse?
Rep. Ron Sandack: God, I wish I knew that.
Jeff Berkowitz: Give me a ballpark figure.
Rep. Ron Sandack: 3%, at a minimum.
Jeff Berkowitz: OK, 3% of the [General Revenue Expenditure budget, $36 Billion], that’s about $1 billion, so you still have that chunk of the budget [to whack at]. Now, next year, you are going to have to fix a budget hole that is 3.6 billion dollars, if you get your wish and you don’t have taxes go back up [to 5%]....you have to find another 1.8 billion new dollars to save, how are you going to do that?
Rep. Sandack: ...