Monday, July 4, 2016
Too many Illinois governments add up to an inflated tax bill
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."