Wednesday, December 30, 2015
GAYLORD HELMS of Port Byron wrote this letter for the December 30 Dispatch/Argus. I am writing to vent my frustration on more tax increases. ..... It is probably pointless, since so many before me have already expressed their disappointments, BUT the taxpayers are still being robbed. ..... Why we can't have a referendum to vote for these increases is beyond me. ..... We not only have another salary to pay, with a new Rock Island County administrator, bur he adds insult to injury by immediately raising our taxes by 16.6 percent. The county board votes on the increase and it fails, so you take a recess and vote again until it passes. ..... That hardly seems democratic. Being retired and on a fixed income, like many others in this county, we cannot continually afford these increases. ..... By living in Hampton Township, I'm faced by yet another increase for Silvis schools. We incurred a huge tax when a new school was built several years ago, and now you want another substantial increase. ..... What happened to the revenue we were supposed to get for funding schools and roads from the casinos? Yeah! ..... We've lived in Rock Island County all our lives but are considering moving elsewhere."
Thursday, December 24, 2015
CAROL BAY of Port Byron made these complaints about property taxes in this December 24 letter in the Quad-City Times AND December 29 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "This year the property tax on my home was $4,48028. Apparently that is not enough. Rock Island County raised property taxes 16.8 percent plus another increase for the Forest Preserve District. Riverdale Schools are raising my property tax 4.5 percent and the village of Port Byron 4.9 percent. Black Hawk College also raised my property taxes. ..... Every year, our property taxes go up far higher than the rate of inflation. No matter how much money they get, they always claim they need more. Yet, for all this money our schools and governments get from the taxpayer nothing seems to get any better. Where does my money go? ..... We know that property tax rates are lower in Iowa. Realtors know it. Prospective home buyers know it. Homes in Rock Island County can only be sold at a steep discount. ..... Many other letter writers have made the same complaints but left unsaid is how this is turning much of Rock Island County into deteriorating neighborhoods and this blight will only spread with each additional tax increase. ..... Every dollar that goes toward increased property taxes means fewer dollars left for home maintenance and improvements. Declining home values are also a powerful disincentive. Why pour money into a home that is steadily losing value? ..... Illinois needs to adopt Gov. Bruce Rauner's Turnaround Agenda, and local governments and schools need to make some simple reforms. Iowa shows the way: end over-bureaucratization, repeal prevailing wage, stop raising taxes, and make Illinois competitive again."
Wednesday, December 23, 2015
STEPHEN WILSON of Milan had this letter published in the September 21, 2015 Quad-City Times. "As election season unfolds, I feel the need to revisit a subject I believe all voters should look upon once again. That is the definition of the word "insanity". This was a word I was taught meant doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result each time. How appropriate is this word regarding elections? Very! ..... We as voters, exercise the same insanity each election, by sending the very same people back to office, expecting a different outcome based on their false assertions. Witness the debacle in Illinois -- billions in unpaid bills and not a single plan to look at to alleviate the situation. Not a one. ..... Is this not the very definition of insanity? I think so. Personally, when I go to the polls this season and look at the candidates, I will look for incumbents and then vote against that person. We have had way more than our share of career politicians and failed business and professional people try to make it in public life with a literal guarantee of tenure. Seriously? ..... The state of Illinois, its agencies, and education employment rolls are bloated beyond comprehension. ..... I believe a public referendum asking for public input on solutions for the fiscal ills of the state of Illinois is definitely in order."
Monday, December 21, 2015
BILL LONG of Rock Island had this letter in the December 21 Dispatch/Argus pointing out the true costs of the Rock Island County Board. "A recent letter tried to focus on the reasons for the decline in business and population in Illinois and Rock Island County. While it stated that the average weekly wage in Iowa is about $780 and in Illinois, it failed to suggest that Iowa is a right to work state and Illinois is not. ..... This is due to union influence in Illinois and also pushes the cost of public projects higher, (prevailing wage); higher cost of public projects equates to smaller number of projects. The letter is also a covert pitch for the implementation of the progressive state income tax. ..... It tried to compare the cost of the county boards in Scott and Rock Island County. ..... The writer failed to point out that the Scott County Board is a full time position at around $50,000 annual salary, while the Rock Island County board is part-time, with an average of $2,400 annually, and a target of 20 hours per week. There are several members of the Rock Island County board who will dispute that they put in the 20 hours. ..... He failed to mention that over and above this, Rock Island County board members receive $100 per month for attending standing committee meetings, some are on four different committees. They also receive $60 for attending special appointment meetings, I notice that one of them apparently is on four different ones. Beyond this, they receive mileage, a pension and health insurance. ..... In November these payments (excluding salary, pension and health payments) amounted to $9,096.99. Know any other part-time job with these perks? ..... To make some kind of point, have the facts."
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Rock Island County Republican Chair BILL BLOOM had this column in the December 18 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "For months now, the state of Illinois has been locked in a battle over its budget. Democrats John Cullerton and Mike Madigan have been trying to push through a budget with a multibillion dollar deficit. Gov. Bruce Rauner has been calling for reforms that are necessary for the long-term health of the state of Illinois. ..... Democrats have been trotting out families and charities which have had their support cut to show how heartless Bruce Rauner is. The truth is, Democrats have super-majorities in both houses of the Illinois Legislature. They could pass the budget and override a veto by the Governor. ..... All it takes is for them to have lockstep discipline among their troops. Their inability to do this means one of two things. 1: They do not have lockstep adherence of their troops and they don't want this revealed by forcing a vote, or 2: They really want Rauner to take ownership of the budget-busting deficit being proposed by Madigan and his allies. ..... Illinois is in trouble. The U.S. Census Bureau reported Illinois' population fell by more than 9,900 people. The truth is worse. That number includes births. If you only look at people moving in or people moving out, we lost 95,000 people in 2014 alone. ..... We are losing hundreds of businesses and thousands of jobs. Our kids are moving to other places to find opportunity. The south side of Chicago used to be lit up with steel mills working through the night. The last of these moved out last year for another Midwest state. .... "Pro-union" Illinois has lost 10 percent of its union jobs over the last 10 years. "Anti-union" Indiana has seen a 5 percent increase. Why? Because you have to have companies that manufacture to have union jobs and Illinois is losing its manufacturing jobs. ..... Illinois keeps major manufacturers like Deere and Cat by providing sweetheart deals that keep them here. Even with these deals, union jobs are shrinking. ..... Unions pour millions into the coffers of Democrats who pass legislation that sounds good to working families but actually kills jobs. Companies faced with higher and higher costs in Illinois are moving across the borders to surrounding states. ..... If you listen to the liberals, Iowa must be a wasteland with its lower minimum wage and right to work environment. All of us regularly cross the river and experience the truth. Iowa is thriving. ..... Scott County generates twice the retail revenue of Rock Island County. People in Scott County find their houses sell twice as fast as comparable homes in Illinois and at a much higher price. On the Illinois side of the river housing starts have dwindled to a handful. ..... That is not how it has to be. Rauner has a vision that will turn this state around. Democrats offer more of the same solutions that have driven Illinois to the brink of failure. ..... Give Rauner a chance to jump-start Illinois and return it to the job creating industrial power it once was. Tell your local representative you support Rauner in reforming Illinois."
Saturday, December 19, 2015
LOUIE ALONGI of Rock Island had this letter in the December 18 Dispatch/Argus. "We must look at Iowa. ..... Recent letters from some Democrats and labor leaders have criticized earlier letters from fiscal conservatives comparing taxes and government in Rock Island and Scott counties. ..... They may complain about the negative message, but they cannot deny the irrefutable fact that Scott County and Iowa are prospering while Rock Island County and Illinois are becoming stagnant. ..... Scott County population is rapidly growing while Rock Island County is losing population. In 2014, there were 186 housing starts in Scott County versus six here. Scott County collected $147.4 million in sales taxes versus $74.5 million in RICo. These are facts which cannot be disputed. ..... The answer for Illinois and RICo always is "raise taxes"! The property tax levies are going higher and the county and schools are considering a referendum in 2016 to raise our sales taxes higher. In Springfield the only question is which taxes will be raised and how high? ..... The Rock Island County Board recently passed a 16.8 percent property tax increase by two votes after first losing by two votes and then taking a five minute break. This was a legal procedure, according to Robert's Rules of Order. Of course, Robert did not call for the five minute break, the county board chairman did. ..... The voters need to take a time-out also and vote for persons interested in making corrections to the bad decisions of the past and make RICo and Illinois great again. ..... We must look at Iowa for some ideas that would produce some cost savings. NOT just tax increases."
PAULINE SWANSON of Geneseo wrote this in the December 18 Dispatch/Argus in defense of Judge O'Shea's column on Muslim immigrants which so many liberals disliked. "Kudos to John Donald O'Shea! ...... The answer to his headline question, "How many jihadist refugees are too many?" is: ..... One is too many! ..... His is a reasoned response to the hullaballoo over Trump's "call for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country's representatives can figure out what is going on." ...... Too many (Oval Office candidates) jumped on a castigation bandwagon, portraying Trump as unreasoning/unfeeling; attempting to "guilt trip: as against our national openness/our Constitution to deny admission -- anyone who might agree. ..... Those with an IQ more than room temperature, have perceived it's a command in the holy book (Qu'ran) that some followers of Muhammad MUST carry out jihad -- nothing less than destroying "infidels" by ANY means. (They appear to favor beheadings, mass shootings, other brutal/beastly terrorism. Their perception: We are "infidels". ..... We KNOW (San Bernardino massacre; terrorism here and abroad; a LONG history of violence in "conquest"), we've already been infiltrated, with no safeguards against it. He who will not learn from history is doomed to repeat its errors. ...... We need to get a grip! O'Shea's scenario deserves calm, reasoned reading and studious contemplation; then we need to inform our representatives. For the time being, a shutdown is a viable option. ...... (An apology to Trump for misconstruing his remarks wouldn't be out of line either!) ..... O'Shea's assessment is brilliant. I challenge anyone to answer his straightforward questions -- especially that guy in the Oval Office -- in lieu of the pablum he's dishing."
Thursday, December 17, 2015
LAWRENCE BAY of Port Byron had this letter in the December 17 Quad-City Times AND December 18 Dispatch/Argus. "After every massacre of innocents in a "Gun-Free-Zone" we hear renewed calls for gun control legislation from Democrats and liberals. We find that in San Bernardino and elsewhere workers were trained to "find protection and stay quiet" in an active-shooter situation. Obviously, if you "play dead" you only increase your chances of becoming dead. Perhaps it is time for a different approach. ..... Gun-Free-Zones tell murderers that this is a safe shooting gallery. The first step in deterring mass-murders should be eliminating "Gun-Free-Zones". ..... More importantly, we must encourage more well-trained citizens to carry firearms so that these murderers know that they will find return fire. ..... Our U.S., Illinois and Iowa Constitutions call for a militia. The Illinois Constitution Article XII reads "The State Militia consists of all able-bodied persons" and calls on the militia to "enforce the laws". Every legal gun-owner should be in the militia, undergo training, and help in enforcing the law. ..... America was not founded by wimps and it will not long-survive if Americans become defenseless wimps dependent on government protection. There are many Americans who would willingly play an active role in the defense of our society, just look at recent gun sales. Almost everyone during these massacres would love to see someone shooting back at these murderers. Let's have well-trained armed citizens interspersed in every place in our country. Let's have well-trained armed Americans assume some of the responsibility for our safety.
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
RICHARD ROGERS made these points in a December 15 letter in the Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "As usual the schools have decided to ignore the voters. Three times the voters turned down a sales tax increase, so now the school board has decided the voters are ignorant idiots and have increased our property taxes in a manner the voter cannot stop. ..... In a democracy the voters, the people, are empowered to make decisions, yet the school board, which is responsible for teaching how democracy works, does an end run to get more money rather than do the responsible action and consolidate all of Rock Island County into one school district for administration, saving millions of dollars annually by having but one superintendent and associated staff and office. Instead, once again, they have chosen to reach into the wallets of the working and retired classes to fund their agendas. ..... No one spoke at the hearing before the vote, not out of a lack of interest, but because it was a given as to what the predetermined vote would be and it would make no difference. There is no increase in Social Security this year, so I, like other retirees, must adjust my budget for the increases in the cost of living. ...... We cannot just raise our income, but instead see it dwindle because of the irresponsible actions of the schools. Unfortunately the basic tenets of democracy have been stripped from the people and replaced by an attitude of "we are going to do it" regardless of the people."
Monday, December 14, 2015
DEEDEE GRAHAM had this powerful letter in the December 14 Quad-City Times AND the December 16 Dispatch/Argus. " President Barack Obama gave a feckless speech after the San Bernardino killings. His strongest idea was to once again call for increased gun control ignoring the obvious fact that almost all of these mass-killings occur in areas that are called gun free zones where the murderers know they are the only ones with guns and their victims are defenseless. Many Americans believe the best way to stop these massacres is by having more armed citizens and to eliminate gun free zones. ..... President Obama once again told us that Islam is a religion of peace. This is a little hard to believe in the face of 32,658 people killed in terrorist attacks in 2014. President Obama and all the Democratic presidential candidates refuse to use the words "radical Islam", "Jihadists", or "Islamoterrorists" as our enemy. How can a president hope to defeat an enemy that they will not name? ..... We must recognize that there are many Muslim leaders who are fighting Islamoterrorism, but we must demand that more Muslim leaders join the fight. Muslim religious leaders must preach that those who murder innocents will see Jahannam (Hell) and not Paradise. Those leaders who preach Jihad should receive the martyrdom they urge for others. ..... Recent polls indicate national security is now the number one concern of American voters. Right now, Donald Trump is the only candidate who says he will destroy radical Islam. We must demand from all the candidates their plan for destroying Islamoterrorism. We must name our enemy!"
Sunday, December 13, 2015
JEFFREY RICE had this letter in the December 13 Dispatch/Argus AND the December 14 Quad-City Times. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "Donald Trump's comments about Muslims have Republicans, Democrats and media in a tizzy. ..... Trump is the political anti-Christ. ...... Pundits say the Democrats are popping champagne corks over Trump becoming the Republican nominee. The smart people say Hillary Clinton will mop the floor with Trump were he to be her opponent. ..... The Republicans are beside themselves that Trump could win the nomination, thus backroom plotting is happening to stop him at the convention after the primaries. ..... Let's get real and expose them for the frauds they are. ...... Excluding people from entering the United States during a crisis is not new. It happened in the presidency of Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis. Carter forced Iranians to leave this country. He also blocked others from entering the U.S. ...... There is precedence for what Trump is saying and the wizards of smart in both parties and media should be ashamed of themselves for not recognizing what happened in the 70s when Carter did more in reality than Trump could ever do on the campaign trail! ...... There is fear and loathing against political "outsiders". ...... If an outsider wins and runs against the Democrat nominee (Hillary), the floor will be mopped, but it won't be Hillary mopping the floor. ...... Citizens in flyover country just don't get it according to the "establishment". .... They are wrong. We are right. ...... Our government is broken. Media and both parties refuse to understand why political outsiders are gathering so much support. What's wrong with the status quo? ,,,,,, EVERYTHING!"
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
CRAIG HOLLISTER had these good suggestions printed in the December 2 Dispatch/Argus. "I am tired of Illinois being an international laugh line. Illinois ranks neat the bottom in every category except taxes. Our politicians fill jails but can't seem to govern. ..... The Illinois State Museum has been closed to the public since October 1 yet 43 union workers get paid while the museum is in danger of losing accreditation. How is this saving money? Illinois stopped paying lottery winners so Illinoisans go to other states to play the lottery? Brilliant! ..... How much revenue is Illinois losing? ...... Illinois can't pay its bills but adds new obligations such as $1.3 million annually to subsidize air service to Dulles. The more our politicians delay the higher will be the tax increase. ..... I am tired of Rock Island County mismanagement and constant tax increases. ..... Illinois taxpayers should demand that our politicians look at Iowa and other neighboring states where taxes are lower, services are better, and politicians don't fill jails. ..... Iowa and all our neighboring states have lower property taxes. Scott County schools have better test results at a lower cost per student. Illinois only needs to copy what other states are doing. ..... Iowa has no prevailing wage, Right to Work laws and less bureaucracy. Is it any wonder that Scott County has so many more housing starts and such a strong retail base? ..... Illinois and Rock Island County seem to think raising taxes higher is the answer while Iowa and Indiana are lowering taxes. People looking for housing already look at Iowa. Our politicians should also look at Iowa."
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
JOHN RUTLEDGE had another hard-hitting letter in the December 1 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "The recent decision to substantially raise property taxes in Rock Island County emphasizes the fact that we in this county are living under a triple curse of bad government. ..... Our federal, state and county governments are bloated, floundering, over-spent, unfocused and oblivious to the wants and needs of citizens, particularly the 50 percent of us who pay taxes. ..... Any group of fools can run a government by continually raising taxes. It takes intelligent and dedicated officials to recognize where waste and unnecessary outlays are in budgets, and have the guts to make appropriate adjustments, honoring their responsibilities to the taxpayers. Anyone with an IQ higher than his shoe size will agree that Rock Island County (population 150,000) should not have a larger governing board than Cook County (population 5 million. Board members: R.I. County 25 vs. Cook County 17.) ..... Almost all politicians were elected by us, so we are getting what we deserve. Let's be more selective in the future."
WILLIAM PULSCHER wrote this letter in the December 1 Dispatch/Argus. "I am writing this in opposition to the Nov. 22 editorial, "Consider RI Library options carefully." ..... I love libraries and the Rock Island SW Branch library in particular. That said, if we have reached the point where we can't afford to operate branch libraries without running up a deficit they should be closed. ..... I think most Rock Island taxpayers would agree with that action. ..... However, your suggestion that we separately consider running up a new multi-million dollar deficit to expand the Rock Island Library in the future represents fiscal insanity. ..... You may be correct that we should not jump to an early opinion on a new library -- so let's wait until we have a smaller government, a balanced budget and city and county leaders who listen to the taxpayers. ..... Unfortunately, I doubt we'll see that by 2020!"