Friday, May 29, 2015
John Donald O'Shea wrote this in the March 10, 2014 Dispatch/Argus. These words are true now and every time we vote on the school sales tax. (..... marks paragraph breaks.) "Exactly how much money does it take to educate a student in the public school system? ..... We are repeatedly told "our kids deserve the best!" But what does the "best" cost? Will another $11.5 million do it? Guarantee it? Moline School District 40 tells us that its 2012 cost per student was $9,488.46. ..... At the same time, the county can't afford to replace a century-old physically and functionally obsolete courthouse and is expected to ask for a tax increase to save its nursing home. The American economy stinks, and here come one more special interest group telling us that our kids will be better off if only we pay an additional 1 percent sales tax. I doubt it! ..... Moline District 40s financial statements show: "Total governmental funds revenues for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012 of $86,634,518." "Total governmental funds expenditures for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2012, of $ 85,333,855." ...... Not content with that $86.6 million in revenue, a group calling itself, "YES Makes Cents For Students," wants Rock Island County voters to impose a 1 percent sales tax "to provide a better and safer learning environment and to reduce reliance on property taxes." The 1 percent will raise $11.5 million, about $3.8 million of which would go to the Moline schools. In consideration for that increase, the district promises to reduce the real estate levy by $400,000. As such, the net tax increase for the people of Moline would be $3.4 million. ..... In short, the "Yes" people want $90,034,518 to run the Moline schools. The group also blithely claims taking $11.5 million out of the private sector will somehow "boost the local economy". But this isn't $11.5 million for just one year: It's $11.5 million every year! ...... The Moline School District's financial report also states, "Moline School District 40 serves 7,438 students with a 2011-12 total governmental fund budget of $102,556,230." In 2012 there were 147,457 men, women and children in Rock Island County. An $11.5 million tax increase means every man, woman and child's share of the tax will be $78 per year -- year after year. ...... Therefore, as during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012, there were 7,438 students, including high school students, in the Moline school system. By simple division, the cost of educating each student was $11,472 ($85,333,835/7438 = $11,472). A $3.4 million tax increase means the Moline schools can spend $90,034,518 or $12,105 per child ($90,035,518/7438 = $12,105). And yes,I question the district's $9,488.46 per student figure. ..... So, why isn't the $86.6 million enough? Why isn't $11,472 per student enough? ...... According to the district's figures, the 2011-12 teacher ratio was 16.15 students per teacher. Taxpayers, therefore, are already spending $184,699 per year to educate the 16.15 kids in each class. ..... Do the "Yes" people really expect us to believe that if we spend an additional $457 on each Moline child, it will boost the local economy? Provide a better and safer learning environment? At a time when the district barges ahead with the Hamilton school expansion over public objection, how can there be any trust on their promise to permanently reduce real estate taxes? And in the $86.6 million they already have, is there no $3.4 million that could be put to better use? ..... In the 2012-13 school year, the Moline School District was very "average". It ranked 222 out of 480 (top 46 percent). Only 50 percent of Moline High School graduates meet or exceed the ACT College Readiness Benchmark (defined by an ACT composite of 21 or higher). ..... Maybe it is time for the public schools to take an open-minded look at private/Catholic school achievement. ..... Alleman's 2012-13 enrollment was 457 students. Its student-to-teacher ratio was 17:1. Ninety-eight percent of Alleman's graduating seniors went on to college or joined the military. Over 70 percent of Alleman's 2013 graduates met or exceeded the ACT College Readiness Benchmark. The average composite ACT score for 2012-13 was 23.1. ..... Alleman's Total Operating Fund Revenues for the 2012-13 year was $2,931,209. Its Total Operating Fund Expenses were $2,959,045. ..... Alleman spent an average of $6,565 per each of its 457 students. And as far as I know, Alleman has football, baseball, softball, soccer, golf, volleyball, tennis, drama, orchestra, etc., just like the "public schools". ..... Why does it cost $11,472 to educate a student in the public schools, and only $6,565 to do so in a Catholic school? It is difficult to argue that Alleman isn't giving more bang for the buck."
Friday, May 15, 2015
Marty Shannon had this published in the May 15 Dispatch/Argus. (..... marks paragraph breaks.) "I wondered why a penny tax for schools was voted down. I'm not against taxes for schools, roads, police, firemen, teachers and people to run these programs. ..... Governments must stop trying and promising to do everything for everybody. Governments are run by politicians, who are elected to run our cities and spend tax dollars wisely. As I have written many times, governments do not make money, they spend money. Therefore, they can give us something only by taking from us. ..... Sit in any room in your home and look at every article you own, and some you think you own, you paid taxes on everything you purchased: this pencil I'm writing with, the paper I'm writing on. The clothes I wear. ..... I own a washer, dryer, fridge, furnace, the lighting in my home, every electric appliance. If I want to use these I must pay the utility company and on my bill there is a tax. I just bought a new phone. If I want to use it, there will be a tax added to the bill. ..... I have to pause, I need a drink of water. I nearly forgot the city raised my water bill 3 percent and my trash pickup $6. ..... I own my home. At least I thought I did. If I don't pay rent (property taxes), government can take my home. ..... The car is the golden fleece. I could write a book on taxes and ways to get money from this. ..... We don't have a tax problem. Government has a spending problem."
Tuesday, May 12, 2015
Lawrence Bay wrote this in rebuttal of a May 11 Quad-City Times editorial. The Times will not print this letter but everyone is encouraged to modify and send this to the Times to call attention to their efforts to harm the Illinois Quad Cities. "May 11 the Quad-City Times, in an editorial, opposed Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner's efforts to reform Illinois labor practices by creating employee empowerment zones that could outlaw compulsory union dues, block prevailing wage laws and other labor agreements that only exist in Illinois, not in Iowa. ..... The Quad-City Times does not urge that Iowa become a prevailing wage or union shop state but urges that Illinois continue to retain its competitive disadvantage with all of its neighboring states. The Times also endorses higher taxes in Illinois while opposing Iowa tax increases. It seems that the Quad-City Times is actively trying to tilt the Quad City Area playing field even more away from Illinois and toward Iowa. ...... Illinois is losing businesses and residents because of high taxes and onerous regulations. These figures from Illinois Policy illustrate the problem: every state has lower workman's compensation insurance than Illinois, per 1,000 steel fabricators earning $40,000 per year an Illinois company would save $2,704,000 by locating in Iowa, $3,132,000 in Indiana or $3,440,000 in Kentucky; every bordering state has lower average property taxes than Illinois' $3,939 per year, Iowa's is $2,542, Indiana's is $1,507; Illinois is almost completely surrounded by Right To Work states that are gaining jobs while Illinois falls further behind. ..... We should all help Illinois become competitive with its neighboring states."
Monday, May 4, 2015
Carol Bay sent this letter. It appeared in the May 9 Dispatch/Argus and May 11 Quad-City Times. (..... marks paragraph breaks.) "It seems that all the supporters of higher sales taxes in Rock Island County can offer is an emotional appeal that it's "for our children". They seem to ignore simple facts. ..... Our Rock Island County schools are already generously funded, receiving more money per student than Scott County schools yet with poorer test results by every standard. It is claimed that newcomers to our area don't consider Rock Island County because of the appearance of our schools. It is more likely they are repelled by the poor academic records of our schools. We should be more concerned with raising test scores than building new athletic facilities. ...... Just as parents must say "NO" to their children when they spend their allowance too quickly and demand more, we must say "NO" to our schools when they constantly demand more money. Their appetite for money is insatiable. ..... I am tired of seeing Illinois ranked in the bottom 10 in almost every category. Our overall taxes are higher than those in every neighboring state yet the only answer our politicians offer is to raise taxes yet higher. People are not leaving Rock Island County and Illinois because taxes are too low. Cut spending, not raise taxes. ..... We should demand better accounting of how our schools use our tax dollars and ask how Iowa schools can achieve superior results with less money. Ignore the emotional appeals and look at the facts. Our schools should have plenty of money without a sales tax increase."
Saturday, May 2, 2015
On May 1 you could buy gasoline at the Casey's in Port Byron for $2.49 a gallon with no difficulty as usually the pumps were completely devoid of vehicles fueling. Or you could go to the Casey's in LeClaire where the cars were lined up, many with Illinois license plates, to buy gasoline for $2.19 a gallon. A 30 cent difference! Once again, Iowa is attracting Illinois dollars to support Iowa businesses, roads, schools, and governments. And the Illinois politicians want to raise Illinois taxes yet higher? Where would you rather own a gas station. or any retail business, Illinois, or Iowa?
Friday, May 1, 2015
Lawrence Bay had this letter in the May 1 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus paired with two letters supporting the school sales tax. This letter effectively explains why construction cost are too high and why higher taxes is NOT the answer. "Since April 7 those who opposed the school sales tax referendum have been asked, "Where are your solutions to the problem?" ..... Everyone opposed to higher taxes should offer suggestions on how government spending can be reduced. Many solutions can be found just across the river. ...... Construction by every Illinois government body is inflated 10-35 percent by the so-called prevailing wage requirement. ...... This adds to the cost of building or remodeling schools, public libraries, our courthouse and every other government construction or remodeling project. Illinois law requires the inflated "prevailing wage" be paid by every level of government on any government-funded project. ..... If our governments could pay only the true market rate, as private builders do, we could get a lot more construction for the taxpayer dollar. ..... Iowa is one of 18 states that do not have a prevailing wage law. This means that public works projects can be build without having to pay extra. On projects that receive federal funds Iowa still has to pay "prevailing wage" because of the Davis-Bacon Act but saves money on projects using only state and local funds. ..... Nine states that did have prevailing wage laws repealed them, and Oklahoma's was declared unconstitutional. Illinois should also repeal its prevailing wage law and Congress should repeal Davis-Bacon. ..... We don't need to raise taxes, we need to cut spending."