Tuesday, December 30, 2014
On this December 30th there is a BP gas station in Rapids City that sells gasoline for $229.9 per gallon. There is a BP gas station in Le Claire that sells gasoline for $1.99.9 a gallon. The two stations are within sight of each other. Which one sells the most gasoline? How many Illinois cars fuel up in Le Claire? How many Iowa cars fuel up in Rapids City? The 1 percent school sales tax will add even more to that 30 cent a gallon price difference. Yet backers of the sales tax claim that consumers don't notice prices or taxes, they would have you believe that outsiders will swarm into Rock Island County to pay our higher taxes. Before you believe that, go to an Iowa gas station and count the Illinois license plates.
The following letter by Lawrence Bay appeared in the March 12,2014 Quad City Times in rebuttal of the Times endorsement of the sales tax increase. The points raised are still valid for the April 7 election and every future tax referendum. "I could fill this page with reasons to oppose a school sales tax for Rock Island County. In fact, I could fill an entire edition with stories of how this sales tax would harm the economy of Rock Island County. The Quad City Times, in endorsing the 1 percent sales tax increase to be voted on in the March 18 ballot, correctly pointed that Scott County has a 1 percent sales tax for schools and that many Rock Island County consumers help pay for Scott County schools. What the Quad City Times did not mention is that Scott County has a flat 7 percent sales tax on most purchases; there is no sales tax on food and medicine. If this 1 percent Rock Island County sales tax is approved, the sales tax in Moline and Rock Island on most purchases would be 8.5 percent. The sales tax on prepared food, liquor, and at restaurants would be 10 percent! That's 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 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."
The following letter by Lawrence Bay appeared in the December 30th Dispatch/Argus AND Quad City Times. "Once again, Rock Island County voters will have to reject the 1 percent school facilities sales tax, just as they did in 2009 and 2014.The arguments used by both the proponents and opponents will be the same. Yet, no matter how many times the voters reject this tax, it can keep coming back. However, if it ever passes, this tax will never go away. Proponents will claim property taxes will go down. In Henry County, which did pass the sales tax, Annawan just raised its school tax levy 9.58% and other school boards are also raising their property tax levy. At a time when inflation is less than 1.5 and motor fuel and natural gas prices are low, our schools continue to claim the need for ever higher taxes. All the money in the Universe would not satisfy their appetite! Our schools are headed down the wrong path, and raising taxes will only hurt Rock Island County and will not help our children's education. Raising the sales tax in Rock Island County would only help Iowa businesses, schools and government while causing declines in sales tax revenue to Illinois governments. Shoppers go where prices are lower. Iowa already has so many advantages over Illinois, why make it worse? For more reasons to reject this sales tax increase visit voteno2taxblogspot.com. Read this blog and join the fight against higher taxes. Vote NO on April 7."
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
After wisely rejecting the 1% school facilities sales tax several times Henry County voters approved the 1% sales tax, lured by the promise of lower property taxes. How is that working out in Henry County? PROPERTY TAXES KEEP GOING UP IN HENRY COUNTY! The Orion school board raised the real estate levy 4.5%, this will cost the owner of a $100,000 home an increase of $13.20 per year. In Annawan the school board voted a 9.58% tax levy increase which will cost the owner of a $100,000 home roughly an extra $53.00 per year! Other Henry County school districts have also raised their tax levy. And these school boards keep raising the tax levy each and every year! Look at your property tax bill. The school tax levy is the largest item. And compare each year's bill. Property taxes keep rising! Rising far faster than the rate of inflation! Or our income! Governments, as long as it is other people's money, will always find great ways to spend more money. If our schools were to have access to all the money in the Universe they would still claim that our schools are being short-changed and our children's test scores would not improve one bit. It is time to stop throwing money down this bottomless pit. Let's look at how our parochial and private schools are able to hold costs down and yet deliver a superior education. Rock Island County voters once again have a duty to VOTE NO APRIL 7th!
Sunday, December 21, 2014
Inflation is low rising between 1.0% and 1.5% per year and is projected to remain in that range for the foreseeable future. The cost of natural gas and motor fuel have dropped dramatically which means that our schools are paying a lot less for heating and transportation. Yet almost every Rock Island County school district has raised its real estate tax levy by 4.9% or more! Our property taxes keep rising and yet the school boards keep asking for more money. On April 7 we, the voters, get a chance to say enough already. Vote NO April 7th
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Rock Island County school boards continue to back the 1% school facility sales tax referendum while at the same time voting to raise their tax levy! On December 17 the Silvis school board voted unanimously to back the 1% sales tax increase and voted for a tax levy more than 5% higher than last year! Our property taxes are rising far faster than the rate of inflation. Every year our school boards, and other governmental bodies, raise our property taxes. And every year the quality provided by our schools and other governmental bodies seems to decline. Yet every year our property taxes rise. Is it any wonder that most area new home construction occurs in Scott County where property taxes are lower? On April 7th we the voters have an opportunity to speak and we should loudly say :Read my lips, NO new taxes!" No matter how much money is given to any body of government there will always be a clamor for yet more money. Later, we will compare the rising revenue our schools have been receiving and compare that figure with school performance. More money is not the answer.Vote NO April 7!
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
The accusation has been made that anyone who opposes the Rock Island County 1% sales tax increase "just doesn't care about the children of our community who are the future". Actually, we care very deeply about the future of our children and want them to have the best possible start in life. Of course our children are our future. We also care very deeply about the business climate in Rock Island County. We care about the jobs those businesses provide. We care about the sales tax which the State of Illinois and local governments are currently collecting. We think it is foolish for Rock Island County voters to even consider doing anything which would increase the tremendous competitive advantage which Scott County currently enjoys over Rock Island County. We are also aware of all the past tax increases, the dramatic expansion of gambling in Illinois, and the constant rise in our property tax bills; all of it supposedly "FOR OUR CHILDREN"! Yet no matter how much money taxpayers provide our schools test scores don't seem to improve and the schools constantly ask for more money. RICOCAT (Rock Island County Citizens Against Taxation) suggests that there is not a revenue problem but there is a spending problem. We think that in Illinois too much taxpayer money feeds unnecessary bureaucracy and that far too little taxpayer money goes where it is needed. Raising taxes is almost never the answer. Yes, we do care about our children and our schools but NO, we don't support the 1% sales tax increase for Rock Island County.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Think consumers don't notice prices? A recent trip to the Davenport Sam's Club revealed a gasoline price of $2.30 per gallon! Most Illinois gas stations have $2.59 per gallon. Roughly one-third of the many observed vehicles fueling up had ILLINOIS license plates. That is Illinois dollars going for IOWA roads! Illinois dollars paying IOWA sales taxes. Illinois dollars going to IOWA schools. Illinois dollars going to IOWA businesses! The proposed Rock Island County sales tax increase would add another three cents per gallon to the cost of gasoline in Rock Island County sending even more Illinois motorists to Iowa to fuel their vehicles, and probably doing other shopping and dining to take advantage of Scott County's lower sales taxes. To help keep Illinois dollars in Illinois vote "NO" APRIL 7th!
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Rock Island County School Boards are once again passing resolutions to place the 1% sales tax increase on the April 7 ballot. The exact same measure the voters of Rock Island County, in their wisdom, rejected in 2009 and 2014! The arguments will be the same in 2015 as they were in 2009 and 2014: pro-tax backers will tell tales of woe claiming that children can't learn in 50 year old buildings; we will point out that raising the sales tax in Rock Island County will cause even more prudent shoppers to go to Iowa for their gasoline, shopping, dining and entertainment hurting Rock Island County businesses and causing the State of Illinois and other local taxing bodies to collect less sales tax revenue. The only ones who will benefit from the Rock Island County sales tax increase are Iowa businesses and Iowa taxing bodies. Once again, we must organize to defeat this sales tax increase. Start writing letters to the editor opposing this destructive referendum.
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!
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
The 1% sales tax increase for schools was 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! This is from the March 18,2014 election but these arguments still apply to the upcoming April 7, 2015 election.
Saturday, March 8, 2014
The following letter was sent by Lawrence Bay 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% Rock 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." This letter was printed for the March 18, 2014 election. The argument still applies to the April 7, 2015 election.
Monday, March 3, 2014
In 1964 Lyndon Johnson as part of his "War On Poverty" pumped billions of federal dollars into education. Johnson's war on poverty worked about as well as his war in Viet Nam. Since then trillions of federal and state dollars have been poured into public education. Almost every new tax and expansion of gambling has been "for the kids" and yet we still hear the cry that our schools are being shortchanged. If our schools could get 100% of our money they would still claim that our schools are being shortchanged and that more money is needed for our failing schools. When will the public do the math and realize that our schools are failing, not because of lack of money, but because our public schools are taking the wrong path? HIGHER TAXES IS NOT THE ANSWER! VOTE NO April 7TH
This old fogey remembers attending William Penn Nixon Elementary School in Chicago 1946-52. We called it "grammar school" and you sure had grammar pounded into your head. We learned penmanship with pen holders and inkwells and also learned arithmetic including multiplication tables of 12, long division and fractions. Classrooms had 48 desks and occasionally portable desks would be added to handle overflow. One teacher, no teachers aides, would teach this class. Chicago had neighborhood schools, most students lived within one half mile of an elementary school and within one mile of a high school. There was no busing, WE WALKED!School was never cancelled because of snow or hot or cold weather. There was no air conditioning other than opening windows. Yet we learned the three "Rs". The schools we attended were old when I was young and most of them are still being used today. Of course we had an entirely different culture. Horatio Alger type books were taught showing the opportunities possible with work and education. Neighborhood schools meant that people who knew your parents would tell if you misbehaved and your parents would not be happy. We believed that everyone was watching and that everyone wanted us to succeed in life. Admittedly, today we have a different culture. We abandoned the neighborhood school for huge education centers that foster anonymity and divorces parents and the community from the education process and require the added expense of busing. Naturally the results have been steadily declining standards of learning and the only answer educators can think of is We need more money. Perhaps it is time to admit that public education is travelling down the wrong road and that higher taxes is not the answer!
Sunday, March 2, 2014
Why are most taxes lower in Scott County than in Rock Island County? Part of the reason is the bloated government in Illinois and Rock Island County compared to the more streamlined government in Iowa and Scott County. Rock Island County has 25 county board members. Scott County, with a larger population, has 5members of their county board. Rock Island County has 18 township governments, each has a township supervisor, clerk, four trustees and assessor, some have a road commissioner, all getting paid! Scott County does not have township government!Rock Island County has more levels of bureaucracy in their schools than Scott County. Rock Island County is using money for bureaucrats that could be better used for education. We should vote to give more money to these wastrels? VOTE NO ON April 7th!
Backers of the sales tax increase point out that Scott County has a 1% sales tax on most purchases to benefit their school facilities and it doesn't seem to harm Scott County retail sales. And that is very true. However, Scott County started with a lower sales tax base so that even with the 1% Scott County sales tax for schools the sales tax in Scott County is 7% on most purchases including prepared meals and liquor. If Rock Island County voters approve the referenda the sales tax on most purchases will be 8.50%in Moline and Rock Island where most of our stores and restaurants are located, the sales tax on prepared food and liquor in Rock Island and Moline will be 10.00%.. With these higher sales taxes more Rock Island County shoppers will happily fund Scott County schools just as many Illinois motorists help fund Iowa roads, these sales tax increases will add another 3 or 4 cents per gallon to the already huge price differential. Iowa has no sales tax on food and medicine while Illinois has a 1% sales tax on food and medicine. How much will Rock Island County consumers endure? We predict that thousands of Rock Island County consumers will decide to save hundreds of dollars per year by going to Scott County for fuel, shopping, groceries, dining and entertainment. To save our Rock Island County retailers, and the jobs of their employees, we urge a vote of NO, April 7th.
Many Rock Island County citizens who have been opponents in many political campaigns in the past and will be opponents again in the future are working together in opposition to the proposed increases in the Rock Island County sales tax. Many who have worked with us on many political, community and church projects in the past are equally engaged in support of the sales tax increases. As is often the case, both sides have deeply held philosophical views and will present their argument as forcefully as possible. Isn't America wonderful? That is why we have elections, to peaceably resolve these differences of opinion. Let us try to keep political discussions civil. On April 7th the results of this election will be known and we will still be residents of Rock Island County who must remain able to work together in the future.
Saturday, March 1, 2014
Compare public and private schools. Look at costs per student for K-8 in East Moline. In East Moline you have District 37 which has operational spending per student of $10,563. You also have Our Lady of Grace where tuition for parish affiliated students is $3595 with each additional child from that family $1,150; non-parish affiliated students are $5,000 with each additional family member $3,500. Even for non-parish affiliated students the cost per student at Our Lady of Grace is less than half that of District 37. Similar comparisons could be found at elementary and high schools throughout Rock Island County, private schools almost always have a much lower cost per student and almost always deliver a better education. MONEY IS NOT THE ANSWER! RAISING TAXES IS ALMOST NEVER THE ANSWER!
Friday, February 28, 2014
Is providing yet more money to our schools the answer to helping our children achieve? Let us compare the K-8 figures of two adjoining school districts. Consider Hampton School District 29 which has operational spending per student of $8,363 and instructional spending of $4,654. Compare those expenses with adjoining East Moline District 37 which has operational spending of $10,563 per student and instructional spending of $6,042 per student. Also consider that the older portions of Hampton Elementary were built in 1870!Now let us compare how well students perform on the ISAT state standards test. In East Moline District 37 only 41% of students meet or exceed the Illinois state standards.In Hampton District 29 73.3% of students meet or exceed Illinois state standards!Of course other factors influence these ISAT test scores but it should be obvious to all that MONEY ALONE IS NOT THE ANSWER! VOTE NO on April 7th!
Thursday, February 27, 2014
People are leaving Illinois. Moving companies confirm that Illinois is one of the top "outflow" states. Businesses are leaving Illinois. Prudent Illinois shoppers spend their money in adjoining states. Motorists get fuel in adjoining states. Cigarette smokers go to Missouri or Kentucky. Why is this? ILLINOIS TAXES ARE TOO HIGH! Governors of nearby states overtly lure Illinois dollars to their states where taxes are lower. What is the response by Illinois politicians? RAISE TAXES EVEN HIGHER! The Illinois State Legislature is debating to make the "temporary" income tax increase permanent; adding a graduated state income tax; adding a tax on every ounce of soda pop. The Illinois State Legislature is also planning a second capital bill, only debating which taxes to raise to pay for it. And here in Rock Island County voters are being asked to add another 1.00% to almost all of our purchases. Sheer brilliance! Already thousands of Rock Island County motorists go to Iowa for gasoline where they can save roughly 30 cents a gallon. Now we want to add another 3 or 4 cents to the cost of gasoline in Rock Island County? How would you like to own a gas station in Rock Island County near a bridge where you can watch the Illinois cars pass you by on there way to Iowa where the price is so much cheaper? Or own a franchise restaurant knowing you have to charge a 10.00% sales tax where an owner of the same franchise across the river only charges 7.0% sales tax? YOU DO NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF ILLINOIS BY RAISING TAXES! VOTE NO ON April 7th!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Proponents of the Rock Island County sales tax increase assure the voters that this tax revenue can only be used for facilities, it can not be used for salaries or administrative expenses. Where have we heard this before? Almost every tax increase and new gambling expansion in anyone's memory has always been earmarked for education. Taxes go up and up, state sponsored gambling grows, but the new revenue merely displaces money previously budgeted, money that is thus diverted in ways voters would not approve, and there is little added money where voters intended. Rock Island County voters should be aware of this history. Yes, the revenue from the sales tax may indeed go, as promised, to facility improvement but school boards could divert money that was previously allocated for facilities into feeding the bureaucracy and little additional money will actually be devoted to facility improvement. VOTE NO April 7th!
Compare sales taxes in Rock Island County with those across the river in Scott County. If Rock Island County voters approve the increases the sales tax for most purchases in Moline and Rock Island, where most Rock Island County business is located, will rise to 8.50%; the sales tax on prepared food and liquor will rise to 10.00%! THE SALES TAX ON PURCHASES AT STORES AND RESTAURANTS IN SCOTT COUNT IS ONLY 7%! How could Rock Island County voters even consider giving Scott County merchants such a huge advantage?