Sunday, July 26, 2015
JOHN RUTLEDGE wrote this letter published in the July 26 Dispatch/Argus. "No family, business, or government agency can long exist when it habitually spends more than it takes in. ..... This simple economic axiom is understood by the simplest and least educated among us. It is even understood by our legislators in Washington and Springfield. ..... Why they refuse to avoid financial disaster is one of the mysteries of life. ..... In general, governments arte doing too much for people. ..... Welfare provides money, food stamps, free medical care, as well as meals for the children at school. Citizen groups provide school supplies, free clothing, and more free food by means of food banks. ..... For the first time since man's appearance on earth people finally realize that it is not necessary to work or hold a job in order to maintain a family at an acceptable level of existence. ..... The result is that people lose their independence and depend totally on government support. Governments over-extend spending and huge deficits are incurred. And the working taxpayer gets the bills and pays taxes that continue to rise. ..... I believe that Gov. Bruce Rauner is the last chance for Illinois to reach any type of financial stability. There must be reductions in spending. And there will be pain. ...... We can only hope that it is shared fairly by all. Unfortunately we have a one party political system. ..... It probably would be no different if the monopoly was held by the opposing party."
Friday, July 24, 2015
CAROL BAY had this letter published in the July 24 Dispatch/Argus. The gasoline prices cited were accurate at the time the letter was written. ..... denotes paragraph breaks. "During a drive around northern Illinois w were surprised, and pleased, to find gasoline at $2.53 per gallon at LaSalle on July 13. We were even more delighted to find gas at $2.47 per gallon in Freeport on July 15. We immediately pondered how the state of Illinois would collect more motor fuel and sales taxes if those gasoline prices existed throughout Illinois; the added revenue would do much to help our state's budget woes. Now we are back to Rock Island County and reality. Most Rock Island County gas stations have gas at $2.79 per gallon and are usually pretty empty. Most Davenport gas stations have gas for $2.55 or less. They usually are crowded, and many cars have Illinois license plates. These Illinois motorists are paying Iowa motor fuel and sales taxes and not Illinois. Many also shop and dine while in Davenport adding to the Iowa tax revenue. ...... If Rock Island County had gasoline at $2.47 per gallon, Illinois would gain additional tax revenue and Illinois retailers would benefit. Iowa motorists would be fueling up in Illinois and our Illinois retailers would again be competitive. ..... How is it that some areas in Illinois, far away from a competing state, can have such low gasoline prices while Rock Island County with five bridges leading to lower prices have such high gasoline prices? We would greatly prefer helping Illinois retailers and paying Illinois taxes, but Illinois must first become competitive. Above all, don't raise Illinois gasoline and sales taxes."
Tuesday, July 21, 2015
GARY SNYDER had this letter in the July 21 Dispatch/Argus. "Anyone paying a shred of attention to the financial situation in Illinois the past few decades understands that the Land of Lincoln is on the brink of bankruptcy. ...... Making matters worse, the Democrats in Springfield who control both houses of the General Assembly seem to be in denial our dire financial situation. The idea of borrowing billions to cover a budget shortfall is financial insanity. ..... So why would they suggest borrowing billions of dollars we don't have? Simply to get votes! Through subterfuge much like the Rock Island County Board, the state and taxpayers be damned! After all, the taxpayers are too busy working and don't have time to protest the "legalized" theft by our Democratic friends. ..... I also find it interesting that the majority of voices demand that their pet projects be spared cuts. They never offer any solutions or constructive ideas to get our financial house in order, other than to cut someone else's program or raise taxes. ...... I am sick and tired of being told to constantly dig deeper in my wallet."
Monday, July 20, 2015
LAWRENCE BAY had this column published in the July 20, 2015 Dispatch/Argus. ..... denotes paragraph breaks. "Illinois is steadily falling further behind our neighboring states. Scott County continues to widen its advantage over Rock Island County. In 2014, 96,000 Illinoisans left for other states, 1.4 million since 1990. ...... Homes in Rock Island County sell much slower and at a lower price than in Scott County, the difference in new home construction is enormous. Scott County retail is thriving, collecting $147.4 million in sales taxes in 2012 while Rock Island County collected only $74.5 million. ..... New businesses and residents shun Illinois. Illinois used to be the leader of the Midwest. Why the change? How can Illinois again become competitive? ...... Almost across the board, taxes are higher in Illinois. An easy example of the impact of taxes can be seen in gasoline: every day thousands of Illinoisans fuel up in Iowa; while there they may do other shopping and dining, paying gasoline and sales taxes in Iowa and not Illinois. Property taxes are higher in Illinois, among the highest in the nation. ..... Indeed, Illinois is in the top 25 percent in almost every tax category. ..... The Illinois Legislature passed a budget with a deficit of $4 billion (vetoed by Gov. Bruce Rauner). It demands that taxes be raised to cover that $4 billion deficit, which will add further stimulus to the Illinois Exodus. ..... Every attempt to reduce spending is met by howls of anguish and a cry that the state should instead devote yet more money to this or that important cause. Every area of our state, including the Quad-Cities, wants yet more money for some vital project which will add to our deficit and tax burden. ..... There has to be a better way. Perhaps we should look to our neighboring states, especially Iowa, and try to find out how they are doing so much better than Illinois. ...... Illinois has a Prevailing Wage Act which adds 10 percent to 35 percent to the cost of every taxpayer-funded construction project. Nineteen states, Including Iowa and Indiana, do not have a prevailing wage law. Illinois could have a lot more road and building construction at less cost by repealing prevailing wage. We could build better schools and libraries without raising taxes without the prevailing wage inflating costs. Illinois is a "union-shop" state surrounded by right-to-work states including Iowa and Indiana. Many firms will not consider locating in a union-shop state. ..... Illinois has far more layers of government than almost any state. The resultant bureaucracy adds greatly to the cost of government in Illinois. ..... Consider Rock Island County schools where there are 10 school districts plus the Regional Office of Education serving a student population of roughly 22,000. Consolidation into one office would reduce the redundant bureaucracies, freeing more resources to use for actually educating our children. ..... Illinois has township government even in municipal areas: each township has a property tax assessor, many have a highway department and many have a township office and maintenance facility. Iowa only has limited township government in unincorporated areas; rural roads and property assessments are done by the county. ..... Illinois could save a lot of money and achieve greater efficiency by emulating the Iowa system. ..... Illinois has among the highest worker compensation costs of any state, far higher than any of our neighboring states. This encourages businesses to locate in other states. Reform is needed. ..... Government pension costs need to be reined in. For too long our politicians have sweetened pension benefits for political favor without paying for these benefits, leaving Illinois with an unsustainable obligation of $100 billion while other retirement systems in Chicago and statewide hold only a fraction of the money needed. ..... Illinois is in a deep financial hole and the first rule when stuck in a hole is stop digging. Illinois should temporarily curtail adding new financial obligations. Then Illinois should implement some reforms that would streamline our governments and make Illinois more attractive to new residents and businesses. ..... Let's make Illinois great again!"
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Richard L. (Bud) Phillis MD had this letter published in the July 19 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "Pay to play is the phrase used to describe the way money travels to get results. In Illinois politics and government organizations, the following is the path money travels. ..... Unions use dues extorted from members for donations to candidates, usually liberal Democrats, who, when in office, pass legislation that favors union ideals such as wages and pensions. Another way of saying this is "money laundering". ..... A current example is the commercial on TV about the budget crisis in Illinois from SEIU (Service Employees International Union). The commercial blames Gov. Bruce Rauner for the impasse because he is trying to balance the budget, which is mandated by the Illinois Constitution. In order to do that, he must suggest decreases in spending programs that are not mandated by the constitution such as pensions for government workers. ..... Generous pensions are negotiated between liberal Democrats and unions then not properly funded by those same liberal Democrats. This results in a huge debt for the state in addition to an unbalanced budget. ...... The responsibility to reduce spending belongs to the liberal Democrats and not the governor. The Democrats only want to raise taxes and not reduce spending to correct the very problems that they have created. The governor has indicated that he is willing to consider a tax increase that would lead to increased revenue for the state. ......The citizens of Illinois need to eliminate pay to play or money laundering."
Saturday, July 18, 2015
LAWRENCE BAY had this published in the July 18 Quad-City Times. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "The Quad-City Times has been bemoaning the lack of progress and prosperity in the Illinois Quad-Cities. Perhaps supporting some much-needed reforms in Illinois would help the entire Quad-Cities region prosper. ..... Illinois has far too many layers of government. Illinois school districts should be consolidated. These bloated bureaucracies add to the cost of government. Illinois could deliver more services and have better schools with lower taxes through consolidation. Repealing the Prevailing Wage Act would enable far more construction at lower cost, allowing Illinois to improve our roads, schools and other government buildings without raising taxes. ..... Illinois is losing businesses and residents because of high taxes and onerous regulations. These figures from Illinois Policy illustrate the problem: Every neighboring state has lower workers compensation insurance than Illinois. For every 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 and Indiana's is $1,507. ..... Iowa and Indiana do not have a Prevailing Wage Act. 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."
On July 18 the Casey's in Port Byron sells gasoline for $2.79 per gallon with very few customers. Directly across the river in LeClaire Casey's sells gasoline for $2.44 per gallon, A DIFFERENCE OF 35 CENTS PER GALLON!!! The LeClaire Casey's has cars lined up at the pumps,MANY WITH ILLINOIS LICENSE PLATES!!! Many Illinois motorists will also shop or dine while in LeClaire supporting Iowa retailers and paying Iowa motor fuel and sales taxes. Illinois needs tax revenue to balance its budget and the best way to get added tax revenue is to make Illinois prices and taxes competitive with our neighboring states.