Thursday, October 1, 2015
CHARLES FISHER made these points in this September 4 letter in the Dispatch/Argus."A petition requesting the resignation of Rock Island School District 41 sitting board member Jim Bishop is circulating after he elected to send his child to a Pleasant Valley school. The petition decries "the perception that our district is in some way inferior". ..... If this perception extends to test scores, then Rock Island schools are demonstrably inferior. The latest 2013 data for Rock Island High School indicate that only 37.9 percent of students can pass the state English test, and only 28.8 percent achieve proficiency in math. Pleasant Valley respectively placed 91.3 percent and 89.3 percent in 2011, top marks for the region. The RIHS scores are the worst in the Quad-Cities, and come with the highest monetary costs -- a failure by any measure. ..... Rather than take steps to correct a failed bureaucracy, this petition seeks to punish a single individual for exercising a legal freedom of choice. Were the RIHS scores equal to Pleasant Valley, there would be no complaint. This is sadly not the case, and envy is hardly disguised. ..... RIHS joins Rock Island Academy, Edison Jr. High, and Washington Jr. High as schools that are so profoundly inferior that they should be immediately closed, as their state academic watch status strongly suggests. Their continued operation severely damages our community, and this petition's aim to "kill the messenger" does nothing but entrench an inferiority that is obvious to all."
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
CAROL BAY had this letter in the September 16 Dispatch/Argus and September 22 Quad-City Times. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "We recently attended the Americans for Prosperity "Defending the American Dream Summit" in Columbus, Ohio. We heard what other Midwestern states are doing to cut taxes, reduce spending and make their states more attractive to new residents and businesses. We would like to see similar reforms in Illinois. ...... Michigan went from being unable to pass a budget without a government shutdown to having budgets passed two months early enabling local governments and schools to plan their budgets; compare that to the current situation in Illinois. Michigan also passed Right to Work legislation. ..... Ohio enacted judicial reform to reduce its prison population. Too many were jailed for "accidental" offenses. This costs taxpayers money while doing little to improve public safety. Ohio now requires criminal intent. ..... Indiana enacted tax cuts, gave parents school choice, enacted Right to Work and repealed prevailing wage. ..... Wisconsin also enacted tax cuts, enacted Right to Work, defunded Planned Parenthood and cut spending. ..... We all know about Iowa's lower taxes, reputation for honest efficient government, and being a Right to Work state with no prevailing wage law. ..... These Midwestern states are Illinois' competition and Illinois is losing residents, businesses, jobs and sales to these more efficient states. Gov. Bruce Rauner has proposed a Turnaround Agenda which would make Illinois competitive again which is bottled up in the Democrat-controlled Legislature. ..... Illinois cannot continue on its current path toward bankruptcy. Let's support Gov. Rauner in his efforts to make Illinois great again."
LAWRENCE BAY raised these points in the September 15 Dispatch/Argus and September 20 Quad-City Times. "Iowa Growth PAC, a political action committee affiliated with the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce, said it will be more active in this year's city elections. Officials said they will support candidates who meet a range of criteria including holding the line on taxes. ..... This is the same Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce which contributed $4,000 this year to promote the unsuccessful referendum to raise taxes in Rock Island County. This sales tax referendum, if passed, would have caused more Rock Island County residents to shop in Iowa. This would have harmed Illinois retailers, created a loss of Illinois jobs and caused lost sales tax revenue for the state of Illinois and the cities of Moline and Rock Island. ..... Is it the intent of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce to destroy Rock Island County retailers? What other reason could the chamber have for opposing tax increases in Iowa while promoting sales tax increases in Rock Island County? ..... Most of the $103,695.97 raised by Making Cents for Rock Island County Students Yes for the 2014 and 2015 efforts to pass this Rock Island County sales tax came from construction firms, unions and others who would expect to profit had the referendum passed. This is to be expected in a state known for "pay to play". ..... What is not expected is for an organization which claims to serve both sides of the river to blatantly favor Iowa retailers while, apparently, deliberately sabotaging Illinois retailers. ..... What is the agenda of the Quad-Cities Chamber of Commerce?"
JIM DIETRICH had this letter in the August 1 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "Illinois state Rep. Mike Smiddy once again blames Gov. Rauner for the financial plight facing Illinois. Gov. Rauner has been in office for seven months. The Democrats have controlled both houses of the Illinois General Assembly for decades. ..... So where does the blame truly rest? With the Democrat controlled assembly, and the special interests that control them. Rep. Smiddy's declaring the governor to be the villain, is at best childish. But this is what we have come to expect from Rep. Smiddy. Other than deficit spending, Rep. Smiddy has yet to offer any real solutions to the budget problem. ..... For decades, they have been getting whatever they wanted unchecked. House Speaker Mike Madigan has been in Springfield for 40 years. Does anyone else see this as part of the problem? The Democrats proposed a budget which Gov. Rauner vetoed; now Democrats are saying he wanted this budget crisis to continue for political gain. ..... The Democrats have a supermajority in both houses and could override Gov. Rauner's veto or raise taxes anytime they wish. It's the Democrats who are dragging out this budget mess, just to make the governor look bad. ..... We have a governor saying, enough is enough, and is making the hard choices his predecessors have refused to make. It might be worth noting, the only thing the governor didn't veto was education funding. ..... There are many questions everyone is asking, but are they truly the right ones?"
JIM TURNER asks some good questions in this August 1 letter in the Dispatch/Argus. "I found the July 22 article on Americans buying homes in June at the fastest rate in eight years does not jibe with my experience. I have a home in a Chicago suburb that I have been trying to sell since 2009. At that time, the home appraised at $515,000. I just accepted an offer of $300,000. By using the Zillow.com website, I put in my zip code of 60439 and found 286 homes for sale. By adding all the zip codes around Chicago I found 10,157 for sale. Next I tried the Wisconsin zip cod and found 39 for sale around Milwaukee and 348 around Indianapolis. ..... Clearly Illinois is not seeing a housing shortage while Wisconsin and Indiana are. ..... I wonder what policies Illinois has that Wisconsin and Indiana do not to cause such a difference?"
RON KOPKO had this letter printed in the August 1 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "With a great show of arrogance toward Illinois taxpayers, House Speaker Mike Madigan tried to give himself a $1,300 pay raise. He and other lawmakers would get a 2 percent pay hike. Republican lawmakers tried to stop it; their efforts were never called for a vote. Of course Madigan controlled that too. ..... Never mind that Illinois is virtually bankrupt. Our bond rating is "JUNK" status; 1.4 million people have left Illinois since 1990; Illinois has some of the highest property taxes in the country; Illinois is in the top 25 percent in almost every tax category. ...... To top that off, the Democratic-controlled Legislature passed a budget with a deficit of $4 billion, which is illegal and unconstitutional. They want to cover the $4 billion deficit by raising taxes on us again. ..... Gov. Bruce Rauner vetoed the proposed budget, which he should. ..... So what do our local politicians, Rep. Mike Smiddy and Rep. Pat Verschoore have to say about all this? NOTHING! They are too busy helping Speaker Madigan fight Gov. Rauner. ..... The Democratic Party has turned the once great state of Illinois into one that people want to leave. The economic facts are there. Mike Madigan and the rest think they deserve a pay raise. What a "JOKE". They should all be fired instead."
RICHARD L. "BUD" PHILLIS, M.D. had this letter published in the September 10 Dispatch/Argus. "Much has been written about Gov. Bruce Rauner and his efforts to reduce the budget deficit by proposing ideas that would make Illinois a more business friendly state. These ideas would lead to more jobs and more businesses in the state. Revenue to the state would increase. ...... Speaker Michael Madigan (40 plus years in Springfield) and the union-controlled Legislature insist on no change in public worker union pensions. ..... Without changes in pensions, drastic cuts to essential services must be made to fulfill the Constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, which the Legislature has ignored for years. As usual, the only idea Madigan and the Legislature have is more taxes. ..... Gov. Rauner has indicated that some changes by Madigan to reduce spending would help the governor agree to a tax increase. ..... At the present time, it seems the only way to change the standoff in Springfield is to eliminate the power of Speaker Madigan. This will occur only if voters of the state will oust enough Democrats from the House and Senate to deny Speaker Madigan his power base."