Saturday, April 9, 2016
CHARLES FISHER of Rock Island had this letter in the April 9 Dispatch/Argus. Mark Schwiebert has asked for passage of a 1 percent sales tax for Rock Island County schools. What our former mayor has not revealed is that Rock Island already has the most expensive schools in the area, and the worst performing: 2012 data from the Federal Education Budget Project indicates that Rock Island District 41 budgeted $11,563 per student, while Pleasant Valley's much lower figure of $8,593 per student includes funds from the Scott County local option sales tax. ..... Pleasant Valley's academics far exceed Rock Island at strikingly lower cost. Rock Island offers an extremely expensive educational product that is of very poor quality in higher grade levels. If this were a commercial product in a free market, nobody would buy it. Indeed, even District 41 school board members send their children to Pleasant Valley. ..... Local unions and construction firms have contributed tens of thousands in advertising for the three previous efforts to pass this tax. Passage would greatly benefit them, but it will not help us, nor our students. ..... We heard very recently that Rock Island school board president Linda Dothard was "very disappointed in the fact we've spent this much money (($13.5 million from the federal government. Test scores have not gotten better, but we spent all this money". Hardly a surprise. ..... Rock Island schools have no budget problems -- they have management and performance problems. Management already has seized upon every tax increase they can possibly grasp, and the voters of Rock Island County must once again (for the fourth time!) tell them to stop."
Friday, March 18, 2016
BILL LONG of Rock Island had this letter in the March 17 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "April Fools joke? Some businesses are closing, others relocating and a population decline, are not the only sure things in Rock Island County. You can also count on every taxing body asking for a tax increase! ...... The Rock Island School Board is again asking for its usual tax increase! For the fourth time, members are asking for a 1 percent sales tax for school facilities. The voters have vetoed this proposal every time it is presented. ..... Being persistent is one thing, but being foolish is another story. A board member stated that if voters approved the tax, he hoped they would use the funds for both capital improvements and paying off bonds for past projects. Scott County has had this tax for some time and is still trying to find ways to cut its budgets. A tax increase isn't always the answer. ..... With the Rock Island County Board taking a 16.8 percent increase for "better governance", and another increase for the courthouse project, it would seem another tax increase proposal is completely out of line. ..... Remember when we were the "farm implement capital of the world"? Remember when Rock Island had a population of over 50,0000? Remember when you were proud to be from Rock Island? It seems that now the only thing going up in Rock Island County is our taxes. When will it end? ...... In the news recently there were three more restaurants that were closing. Rock Island recently told a catering service to look elsewhere to locate. ..... Apparently they don't want the additional jobs and tax revenue. Our elected officials should hang their heads in shame."
The Rock Island-Milan and Rockridge school boards have passed a request that the infamous school sales tax referendum be placed on the November 8 ballot. This is the same referendum Rock Island County voters rejected in 2009, 2014 and 2015. We must get ready to defeat it again. The arguments for and against remain the same. We need to continue to point out that this would make the sales tax in Moline 8.5 percent in Moline and Rock Island, ten percent on prepared food and liquor, causing many consumers to go to Scott County where the sales tax is 7 percent, this would harm our merchants and cut the sales tax revenue in Illinois, Moline and Rock Island, other taxes would have to be raised or services cut to compensate for this lost revenue. Proponents will promise property tax relief but we need to point at Henry County which passed this sales tax and property taxes continue to skyrocket. We need to point out the many money-wasting inefficiencies in Rock Island County schools, more money is not needed, money just needs to be spent wiser. We need to compare Rock Island County schools which achieve better academic results at a far lower cost per pupil with those of Rock Island County. With another voter education program we can once again defeat this ruinous sales tax increase.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
LAWRENCE BAY had this letter published in the February 24 Dispatch/Argus. ..... indicates paragraph breaks. "Illinois and Rock Island County are losing population. ..... New home construction in Illinois is almost nonexistent. Existing homes can only be sold at a steep discount. Many homeowners are unable, or unwilling, to put more money into improving or maintaining homes that are steadily losing value leading to decay in many areas of RICo. ..... How did our once-proud state and county get in this sad condition? ..... One of the first things area prospective homeowners receive is a listing of property taxes, which are much higher in RICo than in Iowa. They see nicer looking neighborhoods, schools and shopping in Iowa, compare reputations of governments and schools, compare taxes and usually decide to relocate to Iowa. ..... What is the usual answer from Illinois governments to this problem? RAISE TAXES! Almost every year most of our RICo school boards and many municipalities, libraries, townships and other taxing bodies raise property taxes close to 5 percent. RICo raised property taxes 16.8 percent plus an increase for the Forest Preserve District. Now RICo wants another increase of only $10 per year for the courthouse. ..... Look at your property tax bill. How much more can our poor, beleaguered taxpayers pay? Look at all the other taxes in Illinois. And Illinois taxes are going to increase. Isn't there a better way? ..... Why are taxes lower in Iowa? Iowa has more efficient government and no prevailing wage. Illinois governments can reduce taxes by implementing what works just across the river. Make Illinois great again by cutting wasteful spending."
Friday, February 12, 2016
Rock Island County Republican Chair BILL BLOOM had this Op-Ed in the February 12 Dispatch/Argus. "Illinois is currently embroiled in a deadlock over its budget. Democrats support a $5 billion deficit. Unions fear Gov. Rauner is trying to hurt or even doing away with Illinois unions. They see the solution in tax increases. ..... It is not the governor who is hurting unions. Illinois unions are struggling because of their own actions. Instead of providing a value proposition for reasons to willingly join a union, unions have been teaming with Democrats to legislate away alternatives. How has that worked? ..... Illinois state law has made it harder and harder to open a major enterprise that isn't unionized. The same Democrats have driven up the cost of worker compensation. Has this helped unions? No. Businesses have reacted by leaving. ..... "Pro-union" Illinois has watched union enrollment fall as companies cut, pull up stakes or expand elsewhere. ..... "Anti-union" Indiana and Iowa have watched manufacturing jobs and union membership grow. Indiana actually puts up signs saying "Move to Indiana" aimed at the Illinois business community. ..... Democrats have been threatening that a more open competitive Illinois is an attack on the middle class, which will hurt the economy. The statistics tell a different story. ..... Housing starts and home values in Scott County far outstrip the same measures in Rock Island County. According to an NIU study on population shifts, in the past four years has grown by 6,000 people. Rock Island County has shrunk by 1,500 people in the same time frame. What could possibly account for this dramatic change but government and perceived opportunity? Last year Illinois lost citizens to every state in the union and the District of Columbia. ..... There is value in company unions and trade unions. Trade unions obviously help ensure the people engaged in their craft know what they are doing. They contribute to quality. Likewise, unions for major corporations help ensure a safe work place and often participate in projects designed to improve productivity. ..... I remember speaking with union guys who were visiting John Deere dealers. It was clear they were concerned about the quality of the product they put out, and they understood that a shoddy product hurt Deere, Deere dealers and farmers. They understood that in order to provide good wages and benefits Deere had to succeed. They had a stake in Deere's success. ..... Gov. Rauner's Turnaround Agenda is good for Illinois. Adopting it will start growth in Illinois again. ..... For unions to thrive in Illinois, unions should look hard at stepping back from "union shop" legislation. Count on their value proposition to recruit members. They need to make it easier for companies to come to Illinois, invest and thrive. If they do this, manufacturing will start to grow again and the opportunities for unions will also grow. ..... Stop counting on crony politicians to legislate union growth. ..... If you are uncertain about this, I suggest a drive through Scott County."
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
GAYLORD HELMS of Port Byron wrote this letter for the December 30 Dispatch/Argus. I am writing to vent my frustration on more tax increases. ..... It is probably pointless, since so many before me have already expressed their disappointments, BUT the taxpayers are still being robbed. ..... Why we can't have a referendum to vote for these increases is beyond me. ..... We not only have another salary to pay, with a new Rock Island County administrator, bur he adds insult to injury by immediately raising our taxes by 16.6 percent. The county board votes on the increase and it fails, so you take a recess and vote again until it passes. ..... That hardly seems democratic. Being retired and on a fixed income, like many others in this county, we cannot continually afford these increases. ..... By living in Hampton Township, I'm faced by yet another increase for Silvis schools. We incurred a huge tax when a new school was built several years ago, and now you want another substantial increase. ..... What happened to the revenue we were supposed to get for funding schools and roads from the casinos? Yeah! ..... We've lived in Rock Island County all our lives but are considering moving elsewhere."
Thursday, December 24, 2015
CAROL BAY of Port Byron made these complaints about property taxes in this December 24 letter in the Quad-City Times AND December 29 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "This year the property tax on my home was $4,48028. Apparently that is not enough. Rock Island County raised property taxes 16.8 percent plus another increase for the Forest Preserve District. Riverdale Schools are raising my property tax 4.5 percent and the village of Port Byron 4.9 percent. Black Hawk College also raised my property taxes. ..... Every year, our property taxes go up far higher than the rate of inflation. No matter how much money they get, they always claim they need more. Yet, for all this money our schools and governments get from the taxpayer nothing seems to get any better. Where does my money go? ..... We know that property tax rates are lower in Iowa. Realtors know it. Prospective home buyers know it. Homes in Rock Island County can only be sold at a steep discount. ..... Many other letter writers have made the same complaints but left unsaid is how this is turning much of Rock Island County into deteriorating neighborhoods and this blight will only spread with each additional tax increase. ..... Every dollar that goes toward increased property taxes means fewer dollars left for home maintenance and improvements. Declining home values are also a powerful disincentive. Why pour money into a home that is steadily losing value? ..... Illinois needs to adopt Gov. Bruce Rauner's Turnaround Agenda, and local governments and schools need to make some simple reforms. Iowa shows the way: end over-bureaucratization, repeal prevailing wage, stop raising taxes, and make Illinois competitive again."