Wednesday, February 24, 2016
LAWRENCE BAY had this letter published in the February 24 Dispatch/Argus. ..... indicates paragraph breaks. "Illinois and Rock Island County are losing population. ..... New home construction in Illinois is almost nonexistent. Existing homes can only be sold at a steep discount. Many homeowners are unable, or unwilling, to put more money into improving or maintaining homes that are steadily losing value leading to decay in many areas of RICo. ..... How did our once-proud state and county get in this sad condition? ..... One of the first things area prospective homeowners receive is a listing of property taxes, which are much higher in RICo than in Iowa. They see nicer looking neighborhoods, schools and shopping in Iowa, compare reputations of governments and schools, compare taxes and usually decide to relocate to Iowa. ..... What is the usual answer from Illinois governments to this problem? RAISE TAXES! Almost every year most of our RICo school boards and many municipalities, libraries, townships and other taxing bodies raise property taxes close to 5 percent. RICo raised property taxes 16.8 percent plus an increase for the Forest Preserve District. Now RICo wants another increase of only $10 per year for the courthouse. ..... Look at your property tax bill. How much more can our poor, beleaguered taxpayers pay? Look at all the other taxes in Illinois. And Illinois taxes are going to increase. Isn't there a better way? ..... Why are taxes lower in Iowa? Iowa has more efficient government and no prevailing wage. Illinois governments can reduce taxes by implementing what works just across the river. Make Illinois great again by cutting wasteful spending."
Friday, February 12, 2016
Rock Island County Republican Chair BILL BLOOM had this Op-Ed in the February 12 Dispatch/Argus. "Illinois is currently embroiled in a deadlock over its budget. Democrats support a $5 billion deficit. Unions fear Gov. Rauner is trying to hurt or even doing away with Illinois unions. They see the solution in tax increases. ..... It is not the governor who is hurting unions. Illinois unions are struggling because of their own actions. Instead of providing a value proposition for reasons to willingly join a union, unions have been teaming with Democrats to legislate away alternatives. How has that worked? ..... Illinois state law has made it harder and harder to open a major enterprise that isn't unionized. The same Democrats have driven up the cost of worker compensation. Has this helped unions? No. Businesses have reacted by leaving. ..... "Pro-union" Illinois has watched union enrollment fall as companies cut, pull up stakes or expand elsewhere. ..... "Anti-union" Indiana and Iowa have watched manufacturing jobs and union membership grow. Indiana actually puts up signs saying "Move to Indiana" aimed at the Illinois business community. ..... Democrats have been threatening that a more open competitive Illinois is an attack on the middle class, which will hurt the economy. The statistics tell a different story. ..... Housing starts and home values in Scott County far outstrip the same measures in Rock Island County. According to an NIU study on population shifts, in the past four years has grown by 6,000 people. Rock Island County has shrunk by 1,500 people in the same time frame. What could possibly account for this dramatic change but government and perceived opportunity? Last year Illinois lost citizens to every state in the union and the District of Columbia. ..... There is value in company unions and trade unions. Trade unions obviously help ensure the people engaged in their craft know what they are doing. They contribute to quality. Likewise, unions for major corporations help ensure a safe work place and often participate in projects designed to improve productivity. ..... I remember speaking with union guys who were visiting John Deere dealers. It was clear they were concerned about the quality of the product they put out, and they understood that a shoddy product hurt Deere, Deere dealers and farmers. They understood that in order to provide good wages and benefits Deere had to succeed. They had a stake in Deere's success. ..... Gov. Rauner's Turnaround Agenda is good for Illinois. Adopting it will start growth in Illinois again. ..... For unions to thrive in Illinois, unions should look hard at stepping back from "union shop" legislation. Count on their value proposition to recruit members. They need to make it easier for companies to come to Illinois, invest and thrive. If they do this, manufacturing will start to grow again and the opportunities for unions will also grow. ..... Stop counting on crony politicians to legislate union growth. ..... If you are uncertain about this, I suggest a drive through Scott County."