Thursday, August 27, 2015
JOANNE RONSTROM had this letter published in the August 27 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "Illinois is home to the worst manufacturing recovery in the Midwest. ..... Last month the Prairie State saw four manufacturers -- General Mills (West Chicago), Bunge North America (Bradley), De-Sta-Co (Wheeling) and one unnamed (Chicago) -- announcing moves from Illinois. These moves will cost Illinoisans approximately 1,300 jobs. ..... We have a state budget stalemate because House Speaker Michael Madigan will not use his influence with legislators to address the following: > A broken worker compensation system. > A workers' freedom to participate in a union and, > The second highest property taxes in the U.S. ..... The Land of Lincoln is losing jobs to Michigan and Indiana, whose government officials have friendlier policies for doing business. Indiana and Michigan are not only growing their manufacturing bases, but they also are using policy advantages, such as Right to Work and reasonable worker compensation standards to entice manufacturers to leave Illinois. ..... Support Gov. Bruce Rauner's proposals for reform of state government. ..... If we continue to do what we have always done, we can expect the same results -- higher taxes, too much unemployment and fewer manufacturing jobs in Illinois."
PAMELA HOLLISTER wrote the following rebuttal to a Dispatch letter facetiously questioning our facts used in RICOCAT letters, this appeared in the August 27 Dispatch/Argus. "An August 24 letter in the Dispatch criticized RICOCAT letters for not including specific supporting data in each of our letters. There is only so much data we can provide within the allowed 250 word limit. Supporting data is found for all our statements among the 125 posts at voteno2tax.blogspot.com. Everyone is welcome to visit our blog. ..... To provide a few of the desired numbers: > We reported gas price differences on July 24 and July 16, last time we checked Sam's Club gasoline was $2.69 in Moline and $2.35 in Davenport, a 34 cent difference and there were many Illinois motorists fueling up in Davenport; > July 18 we reported average property taxes, Illinois $3,939, Iowa $2,542, Indiana $1,507; July 18 we also covered worker's compensation costs; > July 20 we reported that 96,000 Illinois residents left in 2014, 1.4 million since 1990; > July 20 we also reported that Scott County collected $147.4 million dollars in sales taxes while Rock Island County collected only $74.5 million, much of that difference is Illinoisans shopping in Iowa; Most RICo shopping is done in Moline and Rock Island where the sales tax is 7.5 percent, 9 percent on prepared food and liquor; June 5 we reported that there were 186 housing starts in Scott County in 2014 compared to six in Rock Island County. ..... Many other facts and figures can be found at voteno2tax.blogspot.com. ..... Many of these figures came from the pages of The Dispatch and should be familiar to conscientious readers of this newspaper."
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
CAROL BAY had this letter published in the August 19 Dispatch/Argus and August 20 Quad-City Times. ..... denotes paragraph breaks. "I have been receiving mailings from a group called Americans for Prosperity Illinois attacking Mike Madigan and urging me to call Rep. Mike Smiddy and ask him to pass a property tax freeze and a responsible state budget with cost-saving government reforms. ..... The mailing listed several sensible measures that would help Illinois: >Freeze property taxes; >Cut spending; >Reform worker's comp; >Stop lawsuit abuse. ..... The mailing said the Legislature did pass an unbalanced budget that spends $4 billion more than it brings in. Isn't that against the Illinois Constitution? It also accused the Legislature of passing that unbalanced budget because they want another massive tax hike. ..... Illinois citizens are already over-taxed. Property taxes are much lower just across the river in Scott County. Gasoline is as much as 34 cents a gallon cheaper in Iowa. Thousands of Illinoisans buy fuel in Iowa daily and while there, do other shopping. Keep raising taxes and Illinois they might stay in Iowa. ...... Every week another firm announces the slashing of hundreds of jobs in Illinois. Illinois' high taxes and worker's compensation costs are a major factor why employers will not locate here. Residents are leaving for other states with lower taxes and better government. Illinois cannot continue to over-spend and over-tax. ..... Other states are getting their costs under control and actually cutting taxes. I urge Rep. Mike Smiddy and others in the Legislature to enact meaningful cost-cutting reforms. Repealing the Prevailing Wage Act would be a good start. And freeze property taxes!"
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
LAWRENCE BAY had this letter published in the August 18 Dispatch/Argus and Quad-City Times. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "Illinois is losing residents and businesses, in part due to high taxes. Illinois residents do much of their shopping in neighboring states because of high gasoline and other taxes in Illinois. What solutions do the Democrats in our state legislature propose? Raise taxes! ..... Last November, Illinois voters decided to try something different and elected Bruce Rauner as governor endorsing his "Turnaround Agenda" of reducing government spending, reforming worker compensation, streamlining government and making Illinois competitive with other states. Illinois voters saw Iowa, Indiana, Wisconsin and other bordering states reducing taxes and getting costs under control and wanted those results here in Illinois. ..... Predictably, the Democrats, who have a veto-proof majority in both houses of the Illinois Legislature, are blocking Governor Rauner's agenda. The Democrats even wish to add and expand more programs to our budget deficit. ..... The state labor unions are demanding pay raises far in excess of inflation, their salaries and benefits are much higher than salaries in the private sector. The Democrats in the legislature are trying to remove the governor and taxpayers from the contract negotiations. ......Illinois is surrounded by states with lower property tax rates; lower worker compensation costs; lower minimum wage; no Prevailing Wage Act; Right to Work; and so many other advantages. Are we going to make Illinois more competitive, or less competitive, with nearby states? ...... If our current legislature will not enact Gov. Rauner's "Turnaround Agenda" we need to elect a legislature that will. Let's work together to make Illinois great again."
Saturday, August 15, 2015
KEN MOFFETT had the following piece titled "My Creed" written by Dean Alfange for This Week Magazine & Reader's Digest in October, 1952 published in the August 15 Dispatch/Argus. Given the direction of our country today, his sentiment was never more relevant. "I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon, if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the state calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. It is my heritage to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefits of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done. All this is what it means to be an American."
Friday, August 14, 2015
CRAIG HOLLISTER had this letter in the August 14 Dispatch/Argus and August 18 Quad-City Times. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "The state of Illinois is currently engaged in contentious contract negotiations with its employee unions. Reports indicate that the unions are demanding substantial increases in wages and benefits. The state is already headed toward bankruptcy. Gov. Bruce Rauner is wisely refusing the union's extravagant demands. Negotiations are at an understandable stalemate and a disruptive state employee strike looks possible. ..... Our state legislature has proposed legislation banning strikes and lockouts and requiring binding arbitration by a supposedly neutral mediator. This mediator would not be responsible for actually paying for this settlement. ..... Guess who would actually pay for any increased salary and benefits given to state workers? The taxpayers of the state of Illinois! Of course any increase in salary would add to the pension fund debt of Illinois, a pension fund debt that has destroyed the Illinois credit rating. Because all state employee wages and benefits are paid by the taxpayers, the taxpayers should be represented at the bargaining table. .... Gov. Rauner has other items on his Turnaround Agenda that are worthy of support. Illinois cannot continue to have higher labor costs than almost every other state in America, including all of our neighboring states. ..... > Repeal prevailing wage which adds to the cost of every government project. Port Byron Township rejected the Prevailing Wage Ordinance. ..... > Pass Right to Work legislation. ..... > Streamline Illinois government. > And stop digging the Illinois financial hole deeper. ..... Support Bruce Rauner in his efforts to make Illinois great again."
Friday, August 7, 2015
BILL LONG had this letter published in the August 7 Dispatch/Argus. "Gov. Bruce Rauner has been having retired state employees contacted to see if they would be available to come back to work for a short period in the case of a strike. ..... This is a precautionary measure to assure that the state would continue to serve the public if the employee union could not come to an agreement. This was one of the promises he made when he was elected. This is good common sense and good business. ..... The people of this state need to come to grips with the fact that we can no longer continue to proceed as we have in the past. Everybody must accept some changes in the future to assure that our children and grandchildren will have a better future. Those that are the "givers" will have to give a little more than we have. There will be some adjustments to increase revenue. Those who are the "getters" will have to learn to get by on receiving a little less. They will have to live with adjusted social programs and provide more for themselves. ..... We now have a governor that is ready, willing and able to turn Illinois around and put us on the path to a sound financial future. Let's give him the needed support to accomplish this. We are in this together!"