Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Rock Island County voters will decide on November 4 whether to raise property taxes to support Hope Creek Care Center. Recent news articles indicate a NO vote would seem to be a no-brainer. Other, privately owned, nursing homes in the Quad Cities provide better care and at a lower cost per resident without RICo taxpayer subsidies ($2.4 million in property tax levies) and while paying property and other taxes (which Hope Creek does not pay). A consulting firm reports that Hope Creek could be sold for at least $25 million, a cash infusion RICo needs, and would pay $215,000 per year in property taxes. Rock Island County has other pending problems such as the courthouse which may require considerable funding. Money realized by the sale of Hope Creek, plus no longer having to spend taxpayer money to subsidize it, plus the added property tax revenue would help pay for the Court House. It seems obvious that the only sensible vote for any prudent taxpayer would be to vote NO on a property tax increase for Hope Creek Care Center.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
The minimum wage is being raised to $15.00 an hour in many areas and there are efforts to raise it nationwide. But why raise it to only $15.00? Why not $100.00? Why not $1,000,000.00 per hour? ....... When I started work in 1960 my dream was to make $2.50 per hour, the minimum wage then was $1.00 per hour. However in 1960 you could buy a decent house for less that $15,000, a new car for less that $2,000 or mail a letter for four cents or a post card for one cent. A carton of cigarettes was $1.80 and you would not believe how low food and gasoline were. Night Clubs were cheap: Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin AND Sammy Davis Jr. plus two drinks totaled $5.00! Are real salaries higher now? ..... In Turkey in 2000 everyone was a millionaire! But a million Turkish Lire was worth 67 cents American. Of course you could buy very little with a million Turkish Lire. Turkey, and other countries, saw the folly of this and reformed their currencies. Does the United States wish to become another Weimar Republic? ....... Foolishly raising the minimum wage, and the resultant inflation, would wipe out the assets of anyone with savings accounts or government bonds and destroy anyone on a fixed income while moving workers into higher tax brackets. Jobs would be lost. It would do nothing to raise the standard of living for low wage workers. ...... What counts is not the level of income but the purchasing power of those dollars. Raising the minimum wage solves nothing!
Thursday, March 20, 2014
DRUE MIELKE remarks at the Rock Island County Board meeting March 19, 2014 opposing a resolution to support SJRCA40/HJRCA 33 also known as the "Fair Tax Act". ..... "As Rock Island County Board Member, District 22, I cannot support a resolution that the Rock Island County Board has put forth. A resolution that hurts lower income and middle class families. A resolution that seeks to increase the tax rate .25% for those earning from $36,000 - $58,000.The "Fair Tax Act" would allow graduated tax rates to be raised in the future without public input or approval. This is truly a blank check with this change to our state constitution. When the State income tax was raised from 3.75% to the current 5%, Illinois citizens were legally promised the increase was temporary and would sunset in 2015. Now members of this body are asking that we support increasing taxes on hard working, Illinois citizens. Border counties like Rock Island will suffer the most, giving residents and business another reason to relocate to Iowa... a state with a more favorable business climate which attracts jobs and investments. Since the tax increase was passed, our debt and pension debt have grown, and the state's economy is among the worst in the nation. In the three years this tax has collected $18 billion in new revenue. But we are going the wrong way - we went from $83 billion pension debt to $100 billion ($17 billion increase). Unpaid bills have increased. .... Illinois doesn't have a revenue problem - it has a spending problem. Voters have told us time and time again that they WILL NOT sign a blank check. They DO NOT want their taxes raised. This resolution does nothing but endorse continuing down the wrong path by raising taxes on our Rock Island County residents. As an elected official, I pledge to continue listening and respecting the will of the people." DRUE MIELKE
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
The 1% sales tax increase for schools wad defeated March 18th, 56% to 44%. Are we done? NO! If you read the March 19 Quad City Times on page 3 you will see that they are considering trying again in November. That could make for a crowded ballot as Hope Creek, the Rock Island County Courthouse and the so-called "Fair Tax" are all being considered for the November ballot. We must be ready. One Question we get asked when we appear before editorial boards is "How do we propose improving our schools?" I intend asking the Dispatch/Argus and the Quad City Times for space on their OP-Ed page in which we can outline our ideas on how governments could lower expenses which would free money for needed school improvements without raising taxes. . One theme would be to look across the river to Scott County where there is less school bureaucracy and fewer layers of government. Rock Island County has 25 county board members while Scott County, with a larger population, has only five county board members. Rock Island County has 30 township governments, each with a supervisor, clerk, four trustees, assessor, administrative expenses, and some also have a road commissioner. Iowa does not have township government. Some members of our group monitor the Rock Island County Board and could point out waste in county government. We may be able to point to substantial inefficiencies that would enable school improvement without endangering Rock Island County merchants. We cannot constantly increase spending and raise taxes, especially in a border region where lower taxes are so near.
Saturday, March 15, 2014
Rock Island County Sheriff JEFF BOYD has been speaking out AGAINST the sales tax increases on the March 18th ballot. Sheriff Boyd points out that any money generated by the sales tax could simply displace existing budgeted money and might not lead to any new money going toward the purported purpose of the sales tax increase. Sheriff Boyd also said, as a voter, he's worried that raising sales taxes will fuel an exodus of shoppers across the river to Iowa. Bettendorf and Moline already have lower sales taxes than Moline and Rock Island. Sheriff Boyd said he has difficulty convincing members of his own family to buy gas in Rock Island County instead of in Davenport where fuel is 30 cents a gallon cheaper. Sheriff Boyd is right! Raising the Rock Island County sales tax to 8.75% on most purchases and to 10.25% on restaurants, prepared food and liquor, while the sales tax in Scott County is a flat 7.0% WILL fuel an exodus of Rock Island County shoppers across the river. Rock Island and Illinois government will collect less sales tax while Scott County and Iowa will collect more sales tax from Illinois consumers. Backers of the sales tax increase are correct. Passing this sales tax increase will help fund new school construction, IN IOWA!
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
The vote on the March 18th sales tax referenda is creating some strange political alliances. Some Republicans are supporting a tax increase and there are some very prominent Democrats who are opposed to increased sales taxes. Democratic Sheriff Boyd articulates our contention that higher sales taxes will solve nothing and drive Illinois dollars into Iowa better than we can. Democratic Precinct Committeemen are outspoken in their opposition to the sales tax increase. Democrats with whom we have never agreed on anything in the past, and probably never will again in the future, are working to defeat increased sales taxes in Rock Island County. After March 18th most Democrats and Republicans will revert to their normal opposition but for now, this is a strange election!
Saturday, March 8, 2014
The following letter was sent to the Quad City Times in rebuttal of their March 3 endorsement of the 1% sales tax referendum. "I could fill this page with reasons to oppose a schools sales tax in Rock Island County. In fact, I could fill an entire addition with stories of how this sales tax would harm the economy of Rock Island County. The Quad City Times, in endorsing the 1% sales tax to be voted on in the March 18 ballot, correctly points out that Scott County has a 1% sales tax for schools and that many Rock Island County consumers help to pay for Scott County schools. What the Quad City Times did not mention is that Scott County has a flat 7% sales tax on most purchases, there is no sales tax on food and medicine. If this 1% Rick Island County is approved the sales tax in Moline and Rock Island on most purchases will be 8.5%. The sales tax on prepared food, on liquor and in restaurants will be 10%, a sales tax difference of 3 cents on every dollar between Rock Island and Moline restaurants and those in Scott County. If Rock Island County voters approve this sales tax increase even more Rock Island County consumers will help fund Scott County schools. Go to any Davenport gas station and see how many Illinois motorists are paying for Iowa roads. Higher taxes are almost never the answer, especially where there are five bridges that allow prudent consumers a choice. To protect the economy of Rock Island County vote NO on March 18."