Sunday, July 10, 2016
LAWRENCE BAY had this letter printed in the July 10, 2016 Dispatch/Rock Island Argus. " Once again our Rock Island County schools are putting a referendum on the November 8 ballot requesting an additional one percent countywide sales tax. This is the same sales that the voters have wisely thrice rejected. It appears that Rock Island County will also ask for a .5 percent sales tax. ...... So far there does not seem to be much opposition to the sales tax referenda. Perhaps many voters are getting tired of the seemingly futile effort to resist ever higher Illinois taxes. Perhaps many would prefer leaving Illinois if they could just get a decent price for their homes. Many consumers may have already resolved to do almost all their shopping in Iowa where the sales tax is only 7 percent and let some other suckers pay the higher sales taxes in Rock Island County. ..... It is really tempting to let the school and county sales taxes rise to 9 percent on most purchases in Moline and Rock Island and to 10.5 percent on prepared food and liquor while we do almost all of our shopping in Scott County and pay only 7 percent sales tax. ..... Tempting, but short-sighted, because on every dollar spent in Iowa, Illinois would lose 6.25 percent in sales taxes. This would result in higher Illinois taxes or reduced services. Moline or Rock Island would also lose 1.25 percent on every dollar plus an additional 1.5 percent on every restaurant or liquor dollar. ..... To save Illinois dollars we must vote NO on the school sales tax."
Monday, July 4, 2016
RON KOPKO of Cordova had this op-ed in the July 4 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. "Now that most of us have paid the first installment of our inflated 2016 Rock Island County property taxes, it's a time for reflection. For most of us, our 2016 taxes wen up hundreds of dollars. For some, it was more than a thousand d dollars. ...... Have you ever wondered where all those millions of dollars are going or how they are being spent? Are we getting true value for our hard-earned tax dollars? ..... We would hope that our tax dollars would be paying for good roads, maintenance of public buildings good education for kid, nice parks, plowing of streets and roads, equipment and police and fire protection. We do get some of that. However, a large portion of our real estate taxes go for high wages, large pensions and great health care benefits for township, county, state and school bureaucracy employees. ..... A recent task force report states that Illinois has 7,000 units of government -- far more than any other state. This bureaucracy starts at the township level and goes on up. Do we really need all these levels of government? .... You will see that well over half of your property taxes go to the school system. We all want good schools, but are we overpaying for what we are getting? As an example, Florida has a population of about 18.8 million. They have 67 school superintendents for the state. Illinois has a population of about 12.9 million, but we seem to need 859 superintendents for our schools. ..... A little closer to home, Scott County has five school superintendents, while we here in Rock Island County seem to think we need 10 superintendents. Rock Island County also has fewer students than Scott County. ..... These superintendents are not minimum wage. Some in Illinois might make more than $300,000 per year. The average in Rock Island County is about $171,000 salary plus health and other benefits. But that's not the end of it. Then there are the assistants and other subordinates. Many of these jobs pay $100,000 per year or more with pensions of between $50,000 and $100,000 per year, something the average working man can only dream about. ..... We will not talk about summers off, the spring and Christmas breaks and every holiday on the calendar. ..... This fall, the school districts are going to ask us again to vote on a countywide sales tax. Why should we pay out any more tax dollars to fund high wages, large pensions and good health care in a state where the school system has an 86 percent graduation rater, and only 46 percent of our students are ready for college coursework? ..... We also have to ask ourselves why in Illinois we need so many township, county and state employees, plus one of the largest school bureaucracies in the country? ...... Many states get along just fine or better than Illinois with less people expense and lower taxes. ..... Nobody ever seems to want to talk about this subject. All they ever want is higher taxes. I think we pay more than enough already."
LAWRENCE BAY had this letter published in the May 13 Dispatch/Argus. "Each June, by state law, every Illinois governmental body has to consider the prevailing wage. Most mindlessly pass a Prevailing Wage Ordinance thus endorsing this wasteful use of the taxpayer dollars. Others simply ignore the issue since the state determines the prevailing wage rate anyway and there is no need to take any action. ..... A third way is being used by many Illinois local governments: passing a resolution calling for the Illinois Legislature to repeal the Prevailing Wage Law! This tells the taxpayers that the local government is only paying prevailing wage on construction projects because it is required by Illinois law. ..... Regardless of which course the local government takes, current Illinois law requires that an artificially inflated "prevailing wage" be paid on all government-financed construction projects. This adds greatly to the cost of building schools, roads, libraries, courthouses and every other governmental improvement. ..... Prevailing wage is why taxes in Illinois constantly increase. Improving the Rock Island County courthouse would be a lot cheaper without prevailing wage. So would a lot of other county improvements. The same is true for our municipalities and schools. Property taxes would not be as high if prevailing wage were repealed. ..... Demand that your school boards pass that resolution urging the Legislature to repeal prevailing wage. There would be no need for the one percent sales tax increase if prevailing wage were repealed. Iowa has no prevailing wage law. Indiana repealed theirs. To be competitive, Illinois must follow.
Rock Island County Republican Chair BILL BLOOM had this op-ed in the June 13 Dispatch/Argus. ..... marks paragraph breaks. " Illinois must change direction. We must become a place that welcomes businesses to our land, and which encourages people to succeed. ..... The Democrats try to blame Illinois' problems on Gov. Bruce Rauner. History disputes this assertion. Illinois has been in dramatic decline for almost 30 years. Manufacturing has been leaving. People have been leaving. According to Allied Van Lines, their No. 1 customer is families moving out of Illinois. ..... Before Gov. Rauner took office, Illinois had the worst credit rating in the United States. Before Gov. Rauner took office, we had the largest debt per citizen in the country. We already had lost much of our manufacturing and almost all of the steel industry. Caterpillar considered relocating its headquarters out of Illinois before Rauner was elected. ..... Before Rauner, Illinois was showing a net loss of people to every other state in the union. All of this puts the lie to the Democrat assertion that somehow Rauner is responsible. ..... Mike Madigan personifies the thinking that has put Illinois into a malaise. He tried to push through a budget with a $7 billion deficit. Democrats in the House voted in lockstep, passing a 500-page budget without reading it. ...... It doesn't have to be this way. ..... Gov. Rauner would make Illinois more attractive to businesses. He would like to see Illinois grow its way out of its economic mess. He would make it easier to start a company here. He understands that in order to have private sector jobs, you need a thriving business climate. A growing economy would raise tax revenues without raising tax rates. ..... Members of private sector unions need to consider the direction Illinois and the country are taking. ..... The United Mine Workers used to be a pillar in the Democratic Party. Now it has been cast aside in favor of the environmentalists. ..... Older members of the UAW can remember when the Quad-Cities was the farm implement capital of the world. Deere and Caterpillar have since built plants, just not in Illinois. ..... This is the legacy of the anti- business environment Democrats have created to "help" unions. Members of the building and trade unions should consider the volume of construction taking place in "anti-union" Iowa (or Indiana) and compare that to what is happening in Illinois. ..... A more welcoming environment would make Illinois more competitive. New business creation would return, and private sector jobs would grow. Growth would open opportunities for unions. Union jobs in Indiana and Iowa are growing. ..... They are shrinking in Illinois. There is an alternative approach to solving Illinois' problems. It's called growth and prosperity. We must stop the relentless rise of taxes in Illinois and choose another path.