Tuesday, September 13, 2016
Until schools fix pensions, just say no to new taxes
RICHARD L. Phillis, M.D. of Milan had this letter in the September 13 Dispatch Argus. "Taxes in Rock Island County are again in the news and in letters to the editor. ...... To understand this one needs to look at the tax bill and the various taxing bodies that are noted ..... The part of the bill that the county board has any control over is 14 percent. By far the largest portion of the total is the school systems and Black Hawk College. Together those two are about 70 percent of every property tax bill. ..... To lower the property tax bill there would need to be a reduction in the amount of money spent for the school systems. Part of the Sherrard school system, where I live, is in Rock Island County. In the Sherrard system, referenda are required for increasing the tax rate, new buildings, multiple building additions, and bonds for nonsafety concerns. ..... A petition signed by 20 percent of the school-area voters in the district could put another topic on the ballot. Thus the taxpayer has little control over school funding. ..... One of the largest expenses is salary and retirement benefits of the employees. ..... This must be reduced if there is to be any significant reduction in property taxes. ..... Many of the employees pay no more than 10 percent of their retirement to the school system and the state paying the rest. The present system of defined benefits must be changed to defined contribution, such a an IRA type of account. ..... Until this is done, I will vote no on any tax increase."