Friday, April 24, 2015
Rock Island County Republican Chairman BILL BLOOM had this column in the April 24 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. (..... marks paragraph breaks.) "Recently the Dispatch/Argus wrote a column about the sales tax referendum and the reasons for its failure. While I would like to credit the Rock Island Republican Party with stopping yet another tax increase, I believe the reason the referendum did not pass lies elsewhere. ..... It is true that a majority of Republicans opposed the tax. However, there was a minority who supported it, for altruistic reasons. I believe the school boards look no further than there own arrogant mismanagement of the people's money to come up with the reasons they were defeated. ...... The Moline School Board recently voted to close two schools, Ericson and Butterworth, without a vote from the citizens and without input from the affected families. Even worse, members proceeded to spend/borrow $16 million to improve another school. Finally, they sold Ericson (mind you, Ericson occupied an entire city block)for $50,000. What part of this is good stewardship of the people's money? .....Unfortunately, the Moline district was not alone in its abuse of the people. Neighboring counties passed the tax increase the last time around on the promise the sales tax would "take the pressure off property taxes". The referendum passed, and then property taxes went up. ..... Perhaps the most egregious abuse of the public can be found in the Sherrard School Board where we see the board litigating against a family whose little girl was barred from attendance with her service dog. Using ... bottomless reservoir of the taxpayer money, the Sherrard board has spent more than $100,000 in legal proceedings against this family. A proper motivation is impossible to fathom. ...... Was there another reason to vote against the tax increase? Yes, many people in Rock Island County and the high sales tax are strangling our economy. Raising taxes in this environment is like drilling holes in a leaky boat to let the water out. ..... After the last election many new school board members were elected. Let's hope the new infusion of leadership yields a more responsible and responsive school board."
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Port Byron Township Trustee Craig Hollister had this in the April 23 Quad-City Times. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "On April 7, Rock Island County voters, for the third time, said they don't want their sales tax increased. ..... Last November, they rejected higher property taxes for Hope Creek. Earlier, voters said they want the county board reduced in size, and not to give the county a blank check on building projects. Maybe there is a pattern here? Are voters trying to say that taxes are too high already? ..... Rock Island and Illinois taxes are near the top nationwide in so many categories. Yet there is a constant call to raise taxes higher. It's time to demand a cut in spending. Where can we cut spending? We should look to Iowa. ..... Iowa does not have as many layers of bureaucracy in its school system. Scott County schools receive less money per student than Rock Island schools, but achieve higher test scores. ..... Iowa does not have extensive township government. Iowa achieves greater efficiency by maintaining rural roads and assessing property on a county level. As a Port Byron Township Trustee, I can tell you that township government is a waste of the taxpayer dollar. We perform no necessary function. ..... Illinois cannot continue to raise taxes. Already, savvy motorists buy their fuel in Iowa. Keep raising taxes and we may go across the bridge and not return. Demand that your government be more responsible with our money. ..... Government was set up by the people, for the people. So speak out. Shake your fist. Enough is enough!"
Sunday, April 19, 2015
Mark Lioen had this letter published in the April 19 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "Reading Eric Timmons' April 12 story: "Breakdown offers clues to why tax vote failed," it seems as though he didn't seek guidance from those ordinary residents who voted "no". ..... I've spoken to people on their doorsteps and the answer as to why the referendum was defeated is twofold. ..... First residents believe that they pay enough taxes, and second, they no longer trust the county nor those who ask the public for more money for education. They point out that those in Springfield suggested that the problem of school funding would be solved if they acceded to a lottery and to gambling because they were told that hese means would be exclusively devoted to education. ..... Now, it angers them when proponents of the 1 percent sales tax are again returning to the trough to take more of their hard-earned dollars. But, there is also distrust of the county board. On the referendum questions that the majority of the board opposes, like the one concerning the reduction in its size, a majority who voted "yes" has seen the board members in favor of the status quo muddying the waters in order to do nothing. ..... And now, they're told their property taxes would be reduced should voters accede to the 1 percent. People legitimately doubt that they'll keep their word. ..... For proponents, they seem determined to submit referendum questions until they succeed. One recalls the line from Oscar Wilde that "democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people, by the people, for the people."
Friday, April 17, 2015
It is tempting to just sit back and let them raise the sales tax in Rock Island County. Consider, fighting the sales tax referendum is a lot of hard work, the tax issue keeps coming back no matter how many times we defeat it, and the sales tax would not cost me very much money since I can do my shopping and dining in Scott County! Yes, that thought is very tempting but it is a foolish thought. Voters in other counties believed in the promise of property tax relief (and the thoughts that some other suckers would pay the sales tax while they shopped where taxes are lower)and approved the sales tax increase. What happened? Property taxes still soared! Now they are stuck with that sales tax increase, forever, and they have higher property taxes. Here in Rock Island County so many Illinoisans would shop and dine in Iowa that sales tax revenue would decline causing other taxes to increase to cover the shortfall. Many struggling retailers would simply close leading to lost property taxes and jobs. NO! This is too important an issue to sit back and quietly accept the destruction of Rock Island County! We must continue to fight this sales tax increase to the best of our ability and FIGHT IT WE WILL!
Many supporters of the Rock Island County school sales tax referendum have tried to tell us that they are really fiscal conservatives who support the tax increase because of their great concern for the education of our children. DON'T BELIEVE THEM FOR ONE NANOSECOND! They are dedicated liberals who believe the solution for every perceived problem is to throw more taxpayer money in and hope that this time the outcome will finally be different. But the outcome is always the same because the problem is not that our schools are not receiving enough money, they receive far more money per student than Scott County schools, it is that the MONEY IS BEING WASTED. MORE MONEY IS NOT THE SOLUTION!
Thursday, April 16, 2015
Jon Noland had this letter published in the April 16 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. It also appeared in the April 20 Quad City Times. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "I moved to Rock Island County 14 years ago. I consider that decision to be a very bad one. There are more layers of government in Illinois than any other state. We are financially destitute. ..... A large majority of residents would leave if they could. We visit our governors by going to prison. Our bloated county board ignores our vote to downsize. Our courthouse faces massive financial hurdles even as board members -- until told to stop -- accepted mileage payments to perform their civic duty. Rock Island leaders dump taxpayer money down a rathole as they try to force the Big Island project through. ..... Why did I vote no on the school tax? As long as the tax spigot remains flowing, there is no incentive to economize. I pay an enormous property tax bill -- where does that money go? Obviously it didn't go towards infrastructure, so it must have gone toward pensions and salaries that on average are higher than Iowa's. We were told this increase would only go towards infrastructure, but how was that guaranteed? Why do we have so many districts? San Diego has one district that administers many more students; where is the school board or superintendent suggesting consolidation? And even though the courthouse issue is not directly related to school infrastructure, it really is because funding comes from the same pile of money schools are trying to reduce with their tax. ..... There are rumblings about a fourth attempt. Why not start making hard decisions to make do with the money you have? It's the way we citizens have to live."
Lawrence Bay had this published in the April 16 Quad-City Times as a rebuttal of their April 9 editorial. "The Quad-City Times continues its year-long deceitful campaign to ruin the Rock Island County economy by raising the sales tax. Now the Times prints a sour grapes editorial essentially calling the 8,531 voters who voted "NO" ill-informed. ...... The Times refuses to acknowledge the many valid objections to raising the sales tax in Rock Island County. The Times also bemoans the 76,114 registered voters who stayed home while refusing to acknowledge that a historically low-turnout election was chosen for this referendum by the school boards in the hopes that their chances would be better. ..... Rock Island County schools already receive far more money per student than Scott County schools with inferior results. Adding more water to a very leaky bucket will not improve the quality of our schools. ..... Moline stores are at a slight competitive disadvantage now with a 7.5 percent sales tax compared to 7 percent in Iowa. Raising the sales tax to 8.5 percent would cause many Illinoisans to shop in Iowa. ..... The Times refuses to acknowledge that this would cost the state of Illinois and the city of Moline lost sales tax revenue and lead to the closing of many stores and restaurants with the resultant loss of jobs and property taxes. ..... The Quad-City Times editorialized against raising gasoline taxes in Iowa while urging higher sales taxes in Illinois. Some might conclude that the Quad-City Times is actively attempting to destroy the retail base of Rock Island County in an effort to have more Illinois dollars go to Iowa retailers and governments."