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!