Tuesday, January 20, 2015
Bill Bloom Guest Opinion
The following guest opinion column by BILL BLOOM appeared in the January 20, 2015 Dispatch/Argus. His words should be heeded by everyone who cares about the State of Illinois. "I think it is time for the state of Illinois to remove the words "tax increase" and "borrowing" from their vocabulary. In April, we will be voting on a sales tax increase to "support schools". Similar tax increase have already been enacted against our property, our businesses. ..... We are boxing our businesses into an intolerable position. Today, businesses in Illinois already contend with higher workman's compensation costs. They have to work with a higher minimum wage that is about to get higher still. At the same time, the state of Iowa is moving to lower its taxes on businesses which will make the problem worse. Illinois recently ranked 48th out of 50 states as one of the worst in which to operate a business. We are about to make it harder still. ..... When businesses are forced to move they take "revenue" with them. The absence of job opportunities means most of our kids end up living in other states. Ironically, as businesses leave because of government created increasing costs we end up with less tax revenue to fund schools. ..... What we are doing is insuring that it is more expensive to do business in Illinois and that it is harder to be price competitive versus neighboring states. Thousands of cars a day are driven to Iowa to be fueled up, and while there thousands of dollars are spent in Iowa businesses. Many of the people who advocate and vote for higher taxes in Illinois will turn around and buy stuff in Iowa because it is less expensive. ...... If a business is looking at the Quad Cities for a new location comes to town, the first question typically is, "What is available in Iowa?" The same is true with families moving to this area. A comparison of the housing markets will show there is no comparison. There used to be an argument about which city was nicer, Moline or Bettendorf? This argument no longer exists. ..... In Rock Island County a business will face a 7.50 percent sales tax versus 6 percent in Iowa and higher costs of business simply because they are in Illinois, compared to the same business in Iowa. A medium sized business in Illinois could move to Iowa into a similar building, keep its same staff, and immediately be hundreds of thousands of dollars more profitable and more price competitive. ..... If we continue to raise the costs of business, the decline in business in Illinois will continue. New business growth in Iowa will continue to outstrip Illinois. When our small business owners get to the point where they want to retire and sell their businesses, they will find it harder and harder to find buyers. Some will soldier on while others will simply close their doors. ..... Our problem is not that taxes are too low. Our problem is our cost of government is too high and too inefficient. We need to get rid of unnecessary drains on our tax dollars. We need to look at our school administration and streamline it to free up funding. ..... Don't pass a sales tax that will only make this situation worse."