Friday, November 27, 2015
DAVE SORENSEN speaks for many in this November 27 letter to the Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "It appears that the new Rock Island County administrator, Dave Ross, is going to tie right in with the way the bloated and "kick the can down the road" county board always has done business. ..... Rather than find areas in which to cut expenses he has moved in lockstep with past board decisions to "tax and spend" -- that's so much easier than finding ways to cut expenses. ..... County taxpayers can expect nothing more than the status quo for the foreseeable future, and that is continuing increases in property taxes. Is it any wonder that Scott County is outpacing us in every category? ..... Rock Island County is an aging county with many of its citizens on fixed income. This 16.8 percent tax increase on top of a 1.1 percent increase in assessed valuation by the Moline Township hurts. And does anyone believe this is just a temporary tax increase? If you do, please stop by because I've got a couple of valuable pieces of oceanfront properties that I's like to sell you. ..... The Dispatch printed a list of members and how they voted. I would suggest that all of the county citizens cut that out, paste it to their calendar and refer to it the next time there is a board election. ..... I would like to thank all the board members who voted no and to wish them a very Merry Christmas and a happy holiday season. ..... To those who voted for the increase, and Dave Ross, I would say Bah Humbug; you are truly the Grinches who stole Christmas."
SHIRLEY GILLIES had this letter in the November 27 Dispatch/Argus. "Here we are again, taxpayers bailing out the Rock Island County Board with tax raises. We've got too many on the board. ..... It needs to be cut to 14 and that's all. It will save us salaries, insurance, retirement, vacations, etc. ..... This has been going on for years,it's time taxpayers have a vote. If they would have raised sales taxes, everybody would pay, now, we old people on fixed income have to cough up more. .... You board members who voted "yes" should be ashamed. ..... People are disgusted."
Constance Bell wrote this letter in the November 27 Dispatch/Argus. This is the family history of so many who came to America LEGALLY! "This was sent to U.S. Sens. Dick Durbin, Mark Kirk and the White House. ..... Much has been made of us being a nation of immigrants. However, I am very familiar of how the immigrants came to this country through Ellis Island, I also know that my great, great grandfather had to sell off his land in Germany in order to come to America. And he also had to have people here to vouch for him. ..... When he came in he and his family were examined for all illness in order to insure he was going to be a healthy citizen and have something to offer the country. Many people were denied entry. ..... Since when were citizens admitted to America and not expected to become contributing citizens? When the president says we should not be afraid of widows and kids, what does he think of the mothers who are proud of their sons who blow themselves up and the women who are now showing up in suicide vests? .....As far as the kids go, ones as young as five and six are being trained in ISIS camps. They are very proud of their training camps. Their magazine is proud to feature pictures of their kids, even 3-and 4-year olds sitting on their mother's laps waving the black ISIS flag."
AL DUSSLIERE had this letter in the November 27 Dispatch/Argus. This letter could be written about almost every Rock Island County taxing body. "East Moline is facing a $2.2 million deficit which includes more than $700,000 in the sewer plant fund because customer usage is down. Knowing this decline was happening, what did city staff do to determine where the decline was occurring? Were changes initiated to offset some of the loss? The usual remedy is raise the sewer and also the garbage fee to cover a shortage there. ..... Department heads create budgets for their departments. If there is a deficit it is their responsibility. Simple economics demands a cut in cost to reduce or eliminate a deficit. ..... What are some possible reasons for our deficit? .... Automatically filling vacant positions, union contract bargaining, lack of control of credit card all purchases, ethics policy, TIF projects, union control of City Council, nine-man shift in fire department, union blocking privatizing garbage collection, continuing policy of "this is the way we've always done it" and finally failure of the mayor and City Council majority to protect the financial welfare of the people."
Thursday, November 26, 2015
A very successful and very wealthy father had a daughter at college who was very liberal and felt that all the greedy capitalists should share their wealth with the "less fortunate" so that everyone has the same amount of money. She briefly returned from college and was asked how she was doing at school and she talked of how hard she had to study to maintain her straight A average. The father asked about her friend and was told she likes to party all night and could barely manage a C average but was very popular. He suggested that perhaps she could go to the dean and switch her grade to a B and raise her friend to a B so that they could have the same grade average. She indignantly said "No way! I bust my tail studying and never go to any parties while she drinks and parties all night. I earned my A average". The father just smiled and said "WELCOME TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!
I went to dinner at a fancy restaurant with a liberal family who dislike my conservative views. Their daughter looked out the window and saw a shabbily dressed homeless man and said "If I had enough money I would treat that poor man to dinner here." Her parents beamed with pride that their daughter had such great compassion. Similarly moved, I said to the child "If you come to my house and rake leaves I will give you enough money to feed that poor man". The daughter thought it over and finally said "Why doesn't that man go to your house and rake leaves. I said "WELCOME TO THE REPUBLICAN PARTY"! Her parents stopped speaking to me.
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
CAROL BAY had this letter published in the November 25 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "As expected, the Rock Island County Board voted to raise our property taxes 16.8 percent. County administrator Dave Ross and some board members also are pushing for a referendum in 2016 to either raise sales taxes or property taxes. RICo schools may also try a referendum to raise our sales tax, the same sales tax which voters rejected three times. .....Most school boards are also raising their property tax levy 4.85 to 10 percent. Library boards are raising their property taxes, as are other local governments. ..... Last year our property tax bill in Rock Island County was $4,880.28. Apparently that is not enough to satisfy all our mismanaged taxing bodies. At what point do property taxes become confiscatory? At what point do taxpayers say enough? ...... A large part of the reason Illinois taxes are so high is over-bureaucratization with all the added costs and inefficiencies adding to the cost of government. Before moving to Port Byron we lived in Iowa and saw how a well-managed state can deliver better service at lower cost. Illinois taxpayers should demand reform before agreeing to ever-higher taxes. ..... RICo continues to have 25 board members reaping benefits which the Scott County Board members don't. Iowa has assessments done by the county rather than by 30 townships. RICo has 10 school districts with their bureaucracies eating tax money that could go to our classrooms. The list of over-bureaucratization could fill this page. We regret leaving Iowa. Who would buy our house with taxes so high?"
Tuesday, November 24, 2015
LAWRENCE BAY submitted this op-ed for the Guest Columnist contest in the Dispatch/Argus. We will see if this ever gets published but the ideas expressed need to be repeated often. "Unionized government workers may wish to save this. I am actually agreeing with the position of union leaders! ..... Rock Island County administrator Dave Ross is asking the county's union workforce to forgo a 2 percent pay raise and is also recommending a 16.8 percent property tax increase. AFSCME Local 2025 president Jeff Stulir rightly said his members would reject forgoing raises until they saw the county board also making sacrifices such as giving up their pensions. ..... One RICo board member called dropping pensions "small potatoes", another called the 16.8 percent property tax increase the equivalent of a tank of gasoline. All taxpayers, including union members, don't think a 16.8 percent increase in the county property taxes added to a 4.85 to 10 percent increase in school property taxes plus increases by many libraries and municipalities is "small Potatoes". ..... Taxpayers see huge pay raises and benefits given to administrative positions and are told that's only a drop in the ocean compared to the overall budget costs of those who do the actual work. Is it any wonder that unions object to unilateral sacrifice or that taxpayers resent ever-rising taxes? ..... Everyone who seriously considers the finances of Rock Island County and the state of Illinois realizes that their current trajectories are unsustainable. Some believe the answer is simply to raise taxes to cover any shortfalls and to actually increase government spending to meet any perceived need. Others believe that raising taxes only drives residents, businesses and shoppers to states with lower taxes, we certainly see evidence of that here where Scott County has far greater retail sales and housing starts. ..... Very few taxpayers or unionized government workers trust our elected officials in any government to be wise stewards of the public money. Here are a few suggestions that might help restore that trust. ..... Until a government's finances are solvent no pay raises should be given to anyone that exceeds that given to Social Security recipients. ..... All governmental bodies should not raise taxes above the rate of inflation without specific cause. Too many local governments routinely raise property tax levies 4.8 percent every year, this quickly adds up. ..... All local taxing bodies should pass resolutions urging the Illinois Legislature to repeal prevailing wage. This would enable more construction at lower cost. Iowa has never had a prevailing wage law. ..... Rock Island County should consolidate school districts. The reduced bureaucracy would save millions that could be put into the classrooms. We don't need ten school districts plus the Regional Office of Education, with their bloated bureaucracies, in a county of 22,000 pupils. ..... Township government should be eliminated in urban areas. Why should we have both municipal and township government eating our taxes? Iowa doesn't. ..... Sell Hope Creek. For-profit nursing homes pay property and sales taxes while most are rated higher than Hope Creek by accrediting bureaus. This would eliminate the county subsidy, increase tax revenue, and the equity would add cash to RICo. ..... The Rock Island County Board should be down-sized. Scott County has five part-time board members yet has a larger population. RICo doesn't need 25 board members. Pensions and health care should be eliminated. Yes, this may be "small potatoes" but if the County Board is not willing to sacrifice why should the union members and the taxpayers? ..... These measures, if enacted, would help restore trust in our local government. If our taxpayers saw their money was spent wisely they might be more willing to accept necessary tax increases. Right now our local governments resemble very leaky buckets. ..... It would also help restore Rock Island County competitiveness with our Iowa neighbors."
Monday, November 23, 2015
RON KOPKO had this letter published in the November 23 Dispatch/Argus. "Don Wooten has become so biased toward the Democratic Party that he is no longer able to recognize or evaluate good ideas when they don't come from his party. ..... Mr. Wooten's columns will not recognize that his party has led Illinois and Rock Island County to virtual bankruptcy over the past 35 years. The Democratic Party's answer to this is to raise taxes. I'll bet Mr. Wooten won't be happy when his real estate taxes go up 16.8 percent next year. He can thank his party for that. ..... The Republican candidates propose some good ideas. One is tax reform. Do you know that the IRS tax code has 73,800 pages? Some Republican candidates want to reduce that to 2 or 3 pages. That would be fair for all. Another idea is eliminate some government agencies. We all know how much waste there is in our government. That would save billions of dollars. We have to cut our federal debt, our debt has doubled in the last seven years. This has put our country in a death spiral. We have to have leadership that will end this. The Republican candidates have addressed this and have some good ideas. ..... What have the Democratic candidates proposed to solve these problems? One common theme between them: more government give away programs and tax the rich. That's it. What do they say about socialism? It works great, until you run out of other people's money. Maybe Mr. Wooten can put that in his next column."
Sunday, November 22, 2015
LAWRENCE BAY had this letter published in the November 22 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "The world is justifiably outraged by the death of 129 and wounding of 350 in Paris by the Islamoterrorists. But where is the outrage over a reported 32,658 deaths and countless wounded in 2014 caused by Islamoterrorists? Could it be that the world doesn't care because 78 percent of those deaths were in Nigeria, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria? Where is the outrage over a suicide bomber killing 21 at a funeral in Iraq or 43 in a Beirut suburb? ..... The Democratic presidential candidates say climate change is the biggest threat facing the United States and the world and refuse to say the words "radical Islam". Republicans would rather compare their tax plans. Many Americans feel that none of that matters if our country is destroyed by these Islamoterrorists. ..... We should not condemn Islam, one of the world's great religions with many wonderful teachings of charity and compassion. But we should all condemn those who commit barbaric acts of terrorism in the name of Islam. And we should remember that most victims of Islamoterrorism are innocent Muslims who deserve our sympathy. ..... Where too is the compassion for Christians in the Middle East who are being persecuted, killed and enslaved? These Christian communities were founded by the Apostles and those countries were Christian until overrun by Muslim armies. Does no one care? ..... The American voters should ask these presidential candidates their plan for combatting Islamoterrorism. If our country is destroyed those other issues don't matter."
ERROL McCOLLUM had this short but hard-hitting letter in the November 22 Dispatch/Argus. "Before Rock Island County gets another dime from the taxpayers two things need to happen. ..... First, the township nonsense needs to end. The township is just another unnecessary layer of government that needs to go away. If it was ever needed in the past, it certainly isn't needed now. ..... Secondly, before the 16-plus percent the county says it needs is considered, it, the county, needs to pare the board from 25 members down to five. ..... It was voted to do so back when and hasn't happened yet, Talk about overhead. Rock Island County has more board members than counties with twice the population. Very few counties in the state have that many board members."
Saturday, November 21, 2015
DAVID KIMBELL had this short but hard-hitting letter in the November 20 Dispatch/Argus. "We need to do what Donald Trump says to make the country great again to defeat ISIS. Stop illegal immigration and have a new trade policy that will stop the jobs going to China and bring the jobs back. But we also need to make Rock Island County great again. We need to repeal the prevailing wage and pass Right to Work legislation. Freeze property taxes and do not raise the gas tax. Cut spending, no more taxes. We need these reforms to make Rock Island County great again."
Monday, November 16, 2015
DEEDEE GRAHAM had this letter published in the November 16 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "Illinois is deep in debt. What are Illinois leaders doing? They are operating without a budget, forced by the courts to maintain spending at last year's levels and going deeper into debt with each added month of deficit spending. Obviously this is the path to ruin. ..... Illinois taxes are higher in almost every category than those of neighboring states. Illinois is losing residents, businesses and sales to those lower-tax states. What are our Illinois leaders planning? Higher taxes in almost every category! This will drive more people and dollars from Illinois. ..... Illinois is not paying lottery winners of over $600. Many Illinoisans, hopeful of winning far more than $600, are buying lottery tickets in other states. Indiana, as usual, is capitalizing on Illinois' problems by inviting Illinois gamblers, shoppers and residents to come to Indiana. ..... Illinoisans who buy lottery tickets in other states probably make other purchases at that time. How much is Illinois losing in lottery sales and sales taxes because of this stupidity? How will this help Illinois with its budget deficit? ...... Rock Island County is losing residents and businesses. Scott County retail sales dearly double RICo's. Home construction is almost nonexistent on our side of the river. All of this is, in large part, due to higher taxes. Their answer? Higher property taxes! School and library boards are also raising their property tax levies. .....Higher property taxes help attract new residents? Illinois seems to be committing suicide. We, the voters, must demand a return to sanity."
CHARLES FISHER had this letter published in the November 16 Quad-City Times AND November 19 Dispatch/Argus. "We have learned a number of interesting things regarding the proposed Rock Island County tax levy increase, and none of them are good. For well over a decade, the county board has been using funds budgeted for the Health Department and the Hope Creek Care Center to cover shortfalls in the Social Security and pension funs for county workers. Further, board salaries have been paid out of tort/liability funds. Now the board want more revenue from voters. ..... The Rock Island/Milan School Board also want an increase "just in case" of a property tax freeze. ..... The officials behind these increases are likely lending an ear to Illinois Senate President John Cullerton, who recently claimed that "our taxes are dramatically lower than all the states around us". This is balderdash. Illinois' average state tax burden of $3,008 per capita and average property tax of $1,985 exceed any neighboring state, and Cullerton likely knew it as he claimed the opposite. ..... It also bears repeating that Rock Island has the most expensive schools in the area, and the worst performing. The 2011-12 expenditures for District 41's 6,582 students was $69,115,982 or $10,500 per student. For this money, only 28.8 percent of the high school students can demonstrate math proficiency -- the worst in our community. ..... If elected officials continue to help themselves to the voter's checkbook, then the voters should help themselves to a new slate of candidates in the next election. Overindulgence has reached its limit."
Saturday, November 14, 2015
DON MADSON had this letter in the November 14 Quad-City Times. "The Democratic Party, not Gov. Bruce Rauner, is responsible for Illinois' financial mess. Forty years of Democrat control has left Illinois $15 billion in debt and with more than $100 billion in pension shortages. ..... A Nov. 9 letter to the editor (Rauner responsible for budget mess") stated that Rauner was at fault. He was elected to try and fix the mess that the Illinois Democratic party has put us in. I think I heard that every state that is Democrat-controlled is in financial trouble. Since the writer of that letter is a union official, one would think he would want the pension mess straightened out. That probably will take some give and take on the part of union membership. ..... Our state is in serious shape and due to the "give 'em anything to get their vote" attitude of Democratic leaders, it is going to take cuts everywhere or raise taxes to get us out of this mess. ..... Rock Island County is Democrat-controlled, and in trouble. City of Chicago is Democrat-controlled, and in trouble. National debt just about $19 trillion, and Democrat-controlled the last eight Don't blame Gov. Rauner. Give him time and support."
Sunday, November 8, 2015
DATHAN KERBER had this powerful letter in the October 23 Dispatch/Argus which evoked howls of protest from union leaders. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "We, the people, are the millions living here and paying taxes to be served by our governments in ways that make life better for ALL of us. Illinois with its sacred government employee unions doesn't quite fit this mold. ..... The state forces "prevailing wages" on our communities causing them to pay more for things. Union leaders threatened to boycott communities who do not sign on. We see pictures of union members threatening local city governments and the Rock Island County Board. Shouldn't aldermen and board members reflect us all? ..... Government retirees get pensions that our state cannot afford. It is time our legislators got serious about changing pensions more like those in the private sector. ..... Hundreds of organizations are being supported by the state such as nursing homes. We cannot afford them but they provide union jobs insuring votes for the Democrats at taxpayer expense. Private or church-run organizations might do better. ..... Our schools and others get "unfunded mandates" decreeing that they must hire people whether the board wants or needs them. More union jobs. ..... We seem to have become a state "of the unions, by the unions and for the unions". ..... Tough cookies, taxpayers! OUR legislators can always raise OUR taxes to cover union demands. Watch how you vote. ..... Our state has thousands of government employees who do wonderful jobs because of their skills and dedication and who we couldn't get along without. Being union members does not make them better public servants. It only makes them harder to afford."
JOY VIREN MURPHY had this letter published in the November 8 Dispatch/Argus complaining about Virgil Mayberry's request for a salary increase. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "There are two types of elected officials. First. there are public servants who are service-to-others in their approach to their job. They work hard to take care of their constituents, serving the public that elected them. Then, there are politicians who are service-to-self in their approach to their job. ..... Virgil Mayberry recently demonstrated he is a service-to-self politician. He ran for the Rock Island City Council knowing that the pay was $6,000 a year, but now only six months in office he wants a raise. Remember, Mayberry was part of the Rock Island County Board for many years that has neglected our courthouse and county buildings, neglected the memorial statue in front of our courthouse, raised our taxes, mismanaged the zoo and Hope Creek and more. ..... At the county he approved generous raises for employees, while many working in the private sector, are not getting a raise in this economy. Like the proposed 16.8 percent raise in property taxes the count is talking about, just wait, Mayberry will be raising taxes in the city to finance a pay raise. ..... As a candidate, Mr. Mayberry said, "Right now Rock Island is the armpit of the Quad-Cities." I wonder if this is also his goal? By his own words and action, Virgil Mayberry has proven himself to be a service-to-self politician. ..... We have lots of wonderful public servants in both city and county government. But the service-to-self politicians must be called out for who they really are."
Stephen McAfee had this letter published in the November 8 Dispatch/Argus complaining about how our local elected officials waste taxpayer money. "I am sorry for most of the members of the Rock Island County Board. They have spent this county into near bankruptcy through waste and abuse. Now this huge board of 25 members, with their huge salaries, health insurance and huge pensions, shamelessly suggest a 16.8 percent property tax increase on the people they have sworn to represent. ..... I am sorry for most of the members of the Rock Island/Milan School Board for being so ignorant in math that the district is facing a $3 million deficit. The test scores for the students keep going down, but now they are guiltlessly ask the residents for an additional 6 percent tax increase. ..... I am sorry for most of the members of the Rock Island Library Board who think that with the proposed property tax increases, this community can afford a $29 million library expansion. ..... I am sorry for some of the Rock Island City Council who didn't check the pay for the job and now, after being elected want a pay increase. Maybe they should have run for the county board. ..... I am sorry for most of the residents of Rock Island County for voting or not bothering to vote at all, in the past, the way they have done and for having the government that they deserve."
Saturday, November 7, 2015
CRAIG HOLLISTER made the following points in this hard-hitting letter published in the November 1 Dispatch/Argus which apparently hurt the feelings of some liberals and union supporters. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "According to Illinois Policy.org Illinois state government takes in more tax dollars per person than every neighboring state: $3,008 per person in Illinois, $2,717 in Iowa, Indiana $2,583, Indiana $2,583, Missouri $1,846. Illinois local governments collect more in property tax revenue than in every neighboring state: $1,985 in Illinois, $1,479 in Iowa, Indiana $994, Missouri $870, Kentucky $716. ...... Illinois residents pay the second highest effective property-tax rates in the country. ..... Illinois and Rock Island County are losing residents and businesses and have serious financial problems. What is the answer from the politicians. ''''' Raise taxes! ...... Rock Island County is seeking a 16.8 percent increase in property taxes. A huge increase is inevitable in the state income tax, it seems the only quibbling between the Democrats and Republicans is how large an increase and whether a few sensible restrictions on state employee unions can be enacted. ..... Locally, we can be certain that the one percent sales tax for school construction which the voters, in their wisdom, rejected three times will again appear on the ballot. A hint to our politicians. People are not leaving because taxes are too low. ..... Why are our taxes so high? To fund nearly 7,000 units of local government, far more than any other state. ..... Why does Rock Island County have 10 school districts plus the Regional Office of Education, with their bloated bureaucracies, in a county with only 22,000 students? ..... Why do we have township government in urban areas? ..... Illinois doesn't need higher taxes. ..... Illinois needs to cut wasteful spending."
BILL LONG had this hard-hitting letter published in the October 30 Dispatch/Argus. "Here we go again, being asked to support a tax increase, partially because the Rock Island County Board and other individuals have been using "other funds" to pay inappropriate costs for several years! ..... We have been hearing whispers for some time that some funds were being mishandled. Now it appears that our new county administrator, Dave Ross, has confirmed this (to the tune of approximately 18 years and $2 million). ...... The proposed tax increase will generate around $3.4 million dollars. Of this, around $2 million will go toward replacing the mishandled funds and supposedly would not be on next year's tax bill. ..... We hear that all services have been cut to the bone and there is nowhere else to cut that would not include laying off employees. It seems to me that most, if not all, of our local employers handle this situation by proceeding to do what has to be done, lay off employees. They don't have the luxury to ask for more dollars to correct the situation. Sometimes a public body has to do what they have to do, even if it is difficult. ..... In order for the funds to be transferred from one fund to another, authorization had to be given. Who authorized the transfer? Who knew it was inappropriate? Are the individuals who knew of this procedure being disciplined? ...... Is part of the blame to be placed on internal elected officials in other county departments? If so, who, and what will be done about it? What penalty are they expected to pay? Was there any sort of internal investigation conducted to identify those that violated our trust? Will it be disclosed to the public (the voters)? When?"
GEORGE PAJUNEN made these observations in a letter published in the November 6 Quad-City Times. "In recent years and even recent weeks, shootings and mass killings by sadistic evil people have been happening at a frequent pace. The response by the political pundits has been to blame the gun or person. Truly, the gun takes a person to pull the trigger. It's the person's fault, not the gun. If this was an attack on our shores by an enemy, we could say our government was at fault for letting it happen. I believe school boards, universities, theaters and public places have the responsibility to do everything they can to provide a safe environment for their students or patrons. ..... Let's face facts: Sadistic and evil people will use not only guns, but knives, bombs or whatever means they can to get their names in the headlines. That means patrons should be protected by any means. They have to use guns to do it. Not because they like or dislike guns, but because they are responsible for the safety of hundreds of people on their property. Their responsibility is to put these evil-doers down as fast as they can. The newspapers and news organizations are not to give these evil people any press or at least the minimum. Refer to the evil-doer with a number and say he or she killed so many people at such and such place. Nothing more, nothing less. One more fact, gun-free zones are shooting galleries for evil people."
RICHARD L. (BUD) PHILLIS made these points in an October 31 letter published in the Dispatch/Argus. "A recent op-ed discussed Social Security and some other items from the 1930s. Mentioned was the high rate of unemployment. In 1933 the unemployment rate was listed as 24.5 percent. Now let's look at the recent unemployment numbers. ..... Any statistic released from a Washington agency needs to be examined in some depth in order to understand it. Generally the numbers are reported in such a way to make the administration appear that their policies are working. ..... Unemployment is reported to be just over 5 percent. A few months ago job losses were greater than job creation. Along with this the unemployment rate went down. How does that make any sense? ..... The actual current rate of unemployment is not easy to find. One finds percentages but not real numbers. Not included are the 90 plus million who have stopped looking for a job. .....Also the able-bodied people some of whom are on government subsidies of some sort are not included. If all those were included the rate would be much more than is reported, who knows what it would be. ..... The Obama administration wants the lowest number that it can conjure up in an attempt to convince the general public that the recession is over, which some facts seem to question."
Friday, November 6, 2015
BILL BLOOM had this op-ed published in the November 2 Dispatch/Argus. "Illinois is running massive deficits as is Rock Island County. This is not news to anyone. At both levels of government, the Democrats want to apply the same solution which they have used over and over and which has not addressed the problem. They want to raise taxes. ..... People need to realize that raising property taxes is a double tax on home owners. ..... Our homes are worth far less than comparable homes across the river. ..... When the county raises property it removes disposable income from our pockets, and it removes resale value from our homes. Ask any realtor what the impact will be of a property tax increase in Rock Island County. It will not be pretty. ..... Before we go after the taxpayer again, we need to make sure we have exhausted every opportunity to reduce costs in government, and we need to insure that the pain is shared by everyone and isn't hiding wage increases to the public unions. ..... In the "Save Hope Creek" sales tax effort, there were four 2.5 percent salary tax hikes for the public union hidden in the fine print. Any tax increase on the homeowners should come with an ironclad agreement that there will be no salary increases on any county positions until the county is no longer running a deficit. ..... Public employees currently enjoy 12 paid public holidays. Private sector workers receive about seven holidays. Paid holidays should be rationalized between the public sector jobs and private sector. This will save the county one week of salary for every worker on the Rock Island County payroll. If a worker wants to celebrate Columbus Day, let them take a vacation day like the rest of us. ...... The Rock Island County Board should give up its health and retirement benefits package. ..... We need to examine how prevailing wage is calculated and applied. If you ask our local mayors they will tell you (regardless of party) that they add 30 percent to their labor costs for prevailing wage projects. ..... Overpaying on projects hurts the ability of cities and counties to get things done. Area mayors will tell you they have projects on hold because the prevailing wage costs exceed the available budget. ..... If local governments were able to determine where prevailing wage is applied, and if the wages are calculated on the true average, more projects will be completed, more jobs will be created, and the cost of government will be lower for the people. '
Thursday, November 5, 2015
Walt "Admiral" Nenycz had this letter published in the November 2 Dispatch/Argus and November 4 Quad-City Times. "There is much talk about the fact that Illinois does not have a budget. ..... The fault lies directly at the feet of the Democrats in the House and Senate because both chambers have a Democrat super majority. ..... The Democrats could do what they usually do: develop a budget with the spending they want, raise taxes, borrow the dollars needed to "balance" the budget, and finally, override the certain veto. Done! ...... Why not use this process? They seem to want to find some way to placed some of the "blame" for an unbalanced budget to Gov. Rauner and again make no attempt to find ways to decrease spending and agree to some basic reforms needed to make Illinois a more friendly state to business and its constituents, thus creating new jobs and returning people to gainful employment. ..... What must we do to make our elected officials we send to Springfield on our behalf finally hear us? ..... Never has there been a time and explanation why redistricting and term limits are needed!"
MIKE STEFFEN had this letter published in the October 28 Dispatch/Argus. "Medicaid, pensions and education make up 80 percent of Illinois' budget. That does not leave much money for roads and bridges, interest on our debt and maintenance of state-owned facilities. ..... What can we do better? ..... The Affordable Care Act encouraged the states to expand their Medicaid programs in order to serve people up to 138 percent of the Federal Poverty Line (FPL). In return, expansion states would receive federal dollar support for X number of years. Instead of expanding under this program, Wisconsin took a different approach. ..... Wisconsin decided to make Medicaid available to all residents earning 100 percent of the FPL. All others would be transitioned into the health exchanges where they could buy private, subsidized coverage. ..... Why should Illinois consider a plan like Wisconsin? It moves more people into private coverage. This is important because Medicaid enrollees have trouble accessing doctors. One-third of physicians do not accept new Medicaid patients. ...... Medicaid pays doctors very low reimbursement rates, which is part of the reason they are often unwilling to treat Medicaid patients. And crowd-out -- dropping private insurance for a public option -- occurs when the privately insured have the option to access pubic insurance, and states that expand Medicaid are likely to experience crowd-out. ..... Please contact your state senator and representative to share your views about the way Medicaid is administered in Illinois"
DAVID FROM, Illinois State Director, Americans for Prosperity, had this letter published in the October 27 Dispatch/Argus. "Former governor Jim Edgar made headlines with his comments about Gov. Bruce Rauner and the budget impasse in Springfield saying he believes the governor should reacha budget agreement and set aside his demand for economic and governmental reforms. ..... The former governor told reporters, "An unstable state government -- and that's what we have right now, very unstable -- is a detriment to economic growth. I mean, folks aren't going to come to this state and make an investment if they think state government is dysfunctional". ..... With all due respect to Gov. Edgar, companies will not invest in Illinois and families will not stay here if the state continues doing the same things it has been doing for the past few decades. ..... Yes, we need a budget agreement, but Gov. Rauner is correct, we also need reforms to change the trajectory of Illinois. Capitulating to demands to raise taxes without common-sense reforms such as tort, prevailing wage or worker's comp reform will not fix the state's economic woes (see the 2011 tax hike). ...... For too long, both parties have over-promised generous benefits and over-spent to curry political favor, while implementing policies that have made Illinois less competitive with our neighbors. The permanent solution is policies that will lead to greater growth that will return Illinois to its rightful place as the economic engine of the Midwest. ..... Raising taxes without reforms will only drive jobs and opportunities out of Illinois. ..... We need a permanent solution, not more of the same old plans."
GARY SNYDER had this letter published in the October 25 Dispatch/Argus. "Through Sen. Neil Anderson's office, I recently confirmed that the state has suspended the practice of mailing reminders of renewal notices for our vehicles. I also learned that this suspension will result in a saving to the state of $450,000 per month, yes per month, or $5.4 million annually. ..... By requiring vehicle owners to be responsible for determining when our vehicle registration is to be renewed without our parents in Springfield reminding us, how much more can the state save by reviewing other programs and trimming the waste? ..... I'm old enough to remember when we took responsibility for this sort of thing and we got along just fine. This is part of being a responsible adult. ..... what if we all went back to being adults, becoming self-reliant again? know self-reliance is a concept that's lost to our current generation. ..... And frankly, a lot of people are too dependent on the government to run their lives and it shows. Perhaps this suspension of mailing renewal notices is long overdue. ..... I would think that saving $5.4 million annually would help to reduce the state's debt. ..... Join me and contact your representatives to support this idea of reviewing programs to save money."
JOSEPH M. LOETE had this letter published in the October 24 Quad-City Times and October 27 Dispatch/Argus. "As a lifelong resident of Illinois, I can only express my profound disappointment and embarrassment at the current state of affairs. Beyond the long-term fiscal and social ills that plague this state ($100 billion or more in pension payments deferred), it has become almost more than one can bear that the elected leadership cannot even pass a budget for a single year. Instead, mired in the muck of corruption, gridlock and apathy, Illinois soldiers on, moving toward the inevitable end as the first state to fail. ..... It has become evident that the people of my home state have lost hope in effective leadership. I wonder if the collective "we" in Illinois possess the political will to try and effect change for the better. Change will not be pleasant, it is going to be painful and the truth of the matter is that not everyone is going to get everything they want or even need. Instead, it is going to take very tough choices, tax increases and cuts to services, which neither side of the aisle seems willing to acknowledge. Neither side is pitching the entire solution, just a portion of it, in hopes of staying in Springfield one more term. While beginning the marathon that is the election process, more of the same seems to be on the menu in large portions. ..... The current leadership has abandoned its responsibility to govern. The neediest among us are suffering, bills are not being paid on time (or at all) and we are watching our state suffocate from ineptitude. It is time that the collective "we" focus on demanding and receiving effective leadership. Otherwise, when ("if" has left the station) this state goes completely downhill, we have no one to blame but ourselves."