Wednesday, March 25, 2015
LAWRENCE BAY sent this to the Quad City Times in rebuttal of their March 25 editorial endorsing the April 7 Rock Island County sales tax referendum complaining of several falsehoods told about our opposition to higher sales taxes. We shall see if this rebuttal gets printed. AS EXPECTED, THE QUAD CITY TIMES HAS ENDORSED THE APRIL 7 SALES TAX REFERENDUM. IT IS THEIR RIGHT TO MAKE ENDORSEMENTS ON ISSUES. WHAT IS NOT THE RIGHT OF THE QUAD CITY TIMES IS TO TOTALLY MISREPRESENT THE ARGUMENTS OF THE OPPONENTS. ..... YOUR EDITORIAL CLAIMS "OPPONENTS EAGER TO MAKE THE VOTE ABOUT TEACHER'S UNIONS, ILLINOIS POLITICIANS, AND THE STATE'S PENSION SINS OF THE PAST" IS TOTALLY FALSE. THE QUAD CITY TIMES HAS PRINTED 15 LETTERS OPPOSING THE SALES TAX REFERENDUM, NOT ONE MENTIONED ANY OF THAT. FOUR OF THE FIFTEEN COMPARED THE SALARIES AND EXPENSES OF ROCK ISLAND AND SCOTT COUNTY SCHOOLS BUT THE VAST MAJORITY MENTIONED SALES TAX DISPARITY. A VISIT TO VOTENO2TAX.BLOGSPOT.COM WILL REVEAL ALL THE PUBLISHED LETTERS AND OTHER ARGUMENTS AGAINST THE SALES TAX. NOT ONE OF THE 73 POSTS MENTIONS PENSIONS OR UNIONS. ...... YOUR EDITORIAL DOES NOT ADDRESS OUR CONTENTION THAT THIS ADDED SALES TAX WILL CAUSE IRREPERABLE HARM TO ILLINOIS AND ROCK ISLAND COUNTY BY SENDING MORE ILLINOIS SHOPPERS TO IOWA, PAYING SALES TAXES TO IOWA SCHOOLS AND GOVERNMENTS AND NOT TO ILLINOIS AND MUNICIPAL GOVERNMENTS. THIS WOULD RAISE THE SALES TAX TO 8.5 PERCENT IN MOLINE, 10 PERCENT ON PREPARED FOOD. DAVENPORT HAS A 7 PERCENT SALES TAX.PRUDENT SHOPPERS WOULD SAVE $15 ON EVERY $1,000 SPENT BY GOING TO DAVENPORT. ONLY A SPENDTHRIFT WOULD MAKE A LARGE PURCHASE OF FURNITURE OR APPLIANCES IN MOLINE. MANY WOULD DO MOST OF THEIR SHOPPING AND DINING IN IOWA. THE STATE OF ILLINOIS WOULD LOSE $62.50 ON EVERY $1,000 SPENT IN IOWA AND MOLINE WOULD LOSE $12.50. MANY ILLINOIS MOTORISTS ALREADY BUY THEIR FUEL IN IOWA BECAUSE OF TAXES. .....IT IS ODD THAT THE QUAD CITY TIMES EDITORIALS HAVE CRUSADED AGAINST HIGHER IOWA TAXES WHILE CRUSADING FOR HIGHER ILLINOIS TAXES."
Sunday, March 22, 2015
LAWRENCE BAY had this column in the March 22 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus matched against a column supporting the tax increase. (..... marks paragraph breaks.) For the third time Rock Island County voters face the same referendum to add another 1 percent to the sales tax. ..... Voters, in their wisdom, rejected this sales tax in 2009 and 2014 because it would make Rock Island County merchants less competitive and would harm our municipalities and the state of Illinois. ..... Voters also realized that our schools already receive what should be ample funding. Rock Island County schools have much higher expenditures per student than Scott County and yet our schools score poorer on the No Child Left Behind tests. ..... Proponents of the sales tax consistently misrepresent the arguments of those who oppose the sales tax referendum and insult the reasoning of those who vote NO. We are accused of being simplistically anti-taxation, of starving our schools, even of being unconcerned for the education of our children. ..... Proponents do not even try to answer our arguments against the school sales tax, possibly because they can't. ..... Proponents claim that money raised through this sales tax can only be used for facility construction and maintenance, and this is true. However, money currently in school budgets earmarked for facilities can now be used for salaries or other uses. It is called "displacement" and, even with this added tax burden, there may not be any additional money spent on facility improvement. Proponents do not address how this sales tax will harm Rock Island County and the state of Illinois. Currently, if you buy most items in Moline or Rock Island, out of every $100 spent the state of Illinois receives $6.25 in sales tax revenue and the city $1.25; plus the local merchant makes a profit to pay salaries and property taxes. ..... With the proposed additional 1 percent the total sales tax becomes 8.5 percent; 10 percent on liquor and prepared food. ...... Scott County has a flat 7 percent sales tax on most items. A RICo shopper would save $15 on every $1,000 purchase by buying in Scott County. This would mean the state of Illinois would lose $62.50 and our cities would lose $12.50; plus our merchants would have fewer sales, causing a possible loss of jobs and property taxes. ..... Meanwhile, even more RICo dollars would cross the river to help fund Iowa governments and schools. ..... Does anyone think that prudent shoppers won't go where taxes are lower? Count the Illinois license plates at the Sam's Club on Elmore, just to save a few dollars! How many more will go to Iowa to buy their furniture, yard equipment, electronics, appliances and other items to save $15 per $1,000? ..... How many will decide to do the majority of their shopping and dining in Iowa to save money? How will Illinois and our municipalities replace the lost sales taxes? And how many Illinois stores will close because of lost sales? How many jobs will be lost? ...... Proponents claim that property taxes will decrease. They offer a possible temporary reduction of $18.80 per year on an average $114,000 home. Henry County voters believed the promise of lower property taxes and now are stuck with that added sales tax, forever. ..... What happened? Henry County school boards raising the school property tax levy, 9.58 percent in Annawan costing an additional $53 per year on a $100,000 home! Meanwhile, sales tax revenues are way below projections: either the projections were inflated or consumers changed their buying habits due to higher sales taxes. ..... Rock Island County schools receive far more money per student than those in Scott County yet underperform. ..... Rock Island District 41 receives the most per student in the Quad Cities, $11,562 in the latest available figures yet scores 30.1 percent on reading and 25.9 percent on math. Davenport spends $1,300 less per student yet scores 70.7 percent on reading and 66 percent on math. All Rock Island County school districts score poorer on math and reading than any Scott County school. ..... We all want the best education possible for our children but this sales tax will do far more harm than good. It could help turn Rock Island County into a retail desert and cause Illinois governments to lose sales tax revenue. ..... We urge a vote of NO on April 7. For more information, visit voteno2tax.blogspot.com."
RICHARD ROGERS had this letter published in the March 21 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. "Take a moment to reflect upon the current attempt to raise sales tax for school funding. This has been defeated twice in just a very short time. ..... A gas tax increase is on the agenda in Illinois and fee increases for registration and license renewals are being discussed. The state intends to cut back on state money to cities and counties, which will ultimately lead to an increase in property taxes. ..... Gas prices have risen dramatically in just a short time. And yet the schools want more money from us to fund projects. ..... Schools must start cutting administrative costs, condense into one superintendent for all Rock Island County schools. The savings would be in the millions of dollars. All these administration costs, salaries, cost of operation, equipment, etc., that are duplicated in each district. Cut out the waste in administration rather than continue to push for more money. ...... Despite the recent letter that quoted state law that would require the money to go to facilities, the law is no guarantee that if passed the monies collected will go to any specific agenda. ..... Illinois state law requires the state to make pension payments to the pension fund, which it has not. Davenport schools are trying to violate Iowa law by using reserve funds incorrectly. Vote no on the sales tax increase again, force the schools to do what the taxpayers must do, live within your means."
CRAIG HOLLISTER had this letter published in the March 18 Dispatch/Argus and March 20 Quad City Times. "Yet again the voters of Rock Island County have to vote on raising the sales tax. We said no in 2009. No in 2014. Now we have to say no again? ..... When will no mean no? Are they that clueless? The voters don't want another stinking tax shoved down their throats. We are taxed too much as it is. ..... We turn it down not because we don't love our children. We turn it down because we want and desire Rock Island County to succeed. This county is dying due to high taxes. This county also has a reputation of being corrupt and inefficient. Are we to trust them with even more money? I think not. ...... Look at the shoppers driving across the river because of Rock Island County's and Illinois' high taxes. It seems that every week I read a story or and editorial that says Rock Island County is falling further behind Scott County. 200 million Rock Island County dollars are spent elsewhere, and we are again being asked to raise more taxes? This county and Illinois are in a hole because of high taxes and government waste. You don't climb out of a hole by digging deeper. We need to cut the tax burden and cut the waste! ..... And what about Illinois wanting to increase the gasoline tax by 13 cents? This, and the sales tax increase hurt the poor. Hurt the single woman. Hurt the middle class. Hurt everyone. ..... I will no doubt vote a big "NO" on April 7."
BILL LONG had this letter published March 15 in both the Quad City Times and Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. (..... marks paragraph breaks.) "When a person accepts a position that is dependent on tax dollars, they also accept the position that they will spend those dollars in a responsible manner. ..... The proposed school sales tax referendum is supposed to be used for capital improvements. ..... We know it would be easy to budget new dollars for improvements and shift current monies to compensation and benefits. ..... If you check with openthebook.com you will see that in the Moline District 40, Rock Island District 41 and United Township District 143 there are 156 teachers listed who have annual earnings from $100,000 to $209,000. ...... It would seem their budgeting process is centered on salaries and not capital improvements. ..... Seems like the average Rock Island County taxpayer's income has a long way to go to catch up with the teachers they support. ..... The idea that we should vote in a tax increase for capital improvements is the usual promotion by the school board and teachers union. Why is it we never hear of them cutting back on expenses to provide any needed additional dollars? ...... They ask us to approve more taxes for them and yet they limit the public use of these buildings to satisfy their own political comfort zone. ..... Did you ever try to hold a rally for the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts in a school facility? Save your breath, they won't allow it. ..... Let's make sure this referendum is defeated, as it has twice before, until those in charge can modify the budgeting process to the needs of the public and students, not the administration."
Friday, March 13, 2015
This information on the school sales tax is from Illinois Policy Action and can be found at www.stoptaxhikes.com. Reading it should convince almost anyone to vote NO on April 7. (..... will mark paragraph breaks.) THE SALES TAX NEVER EXPIRES AND VOTERS CANNOT REPEAL IT. No County school facility tax has ever been repealed in Illinois. Citizens cannot initiate a vote to repeal the tax hikes. The taxes cannot be repealed by a county or school board as long as any school district in a county is using the money to pay off debt. ..... HIGHER TAXES WON'T REDUCE PROPERTY TAXES. The County School Facility Tax law doesn't make any mention of property taxes or property tax relief. And it doesn't give taxpayers any rights or legal remedies to force school districts to keep their promise to cut property taxes. ..... Champaign County passed this sales tax hike in 2009. Most residents never saw property tax relief; in fact, taxpayers in 12 out of 13 school districts saw property tax bills go up by average of 22 percent. ..... AN OUT-OF-STATE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION IS BEHIND THIS TAX HIKE. An international banking conglomerate called Stifel Nicolaus initiates sales tax referendum campaigns by approaching and recruiting local superintendents and school boards. They want to make money by making you pay higher taxes. Stifel helps school districts establish, guide and finance fake grassroots campaign committees in support of the tax hikes. Stifel profits by handling the bond sales of local school districts after a tax hike goes into effect. ..... Stifel is joined by other large investment firms, construction companies, school design firms. and banking institutions who actively push pro-tax campaigns on unsuspecting voters.
Mark Lioen had the following droll letter printed in the March 13, 2015 Quad City Times. (..... marks paragraph breaks.) "In the concluding moments of the "Men in Black" film, one of the characters opens a locker door and is shocked to discover a universe of giant aliens walking around the small confines of our own Lilliputian world. It is akin to our local and state officials whose concentration on matters here in Illinois made them oblivious to the competition among states for businesses as well as competition for them in the wider world. ..... Once again, local officials have blithely placed a referendum question on the April 7 ballot concerning their desire to place a 1 percent sales tax on purchases made in the county in order to fund the maintenance of public school buildings. ..... As usual, they're outspending opponents in a frantic effort to reassure voters by means of push polls, i.e. phony polling designed to convince people to vote the way that those who fund the poll desire, that the money will be spent locally and only on building structures and not on salaries. ..... With the economy still in the doldrums and the onerous weight of existing taxes and regulations already driving local firms to close or move to other states, the question is whether we wish to augment their difficulties and ours by the imposition of yet another tax?"