Thursday, March 30, 2006

Administrator Into "Loud Squeaking"

The following from the Bloomington Pantagraph:

Woodford County Administrator Greg Jackson wants to make sure the county gets its piece of the pie.With unanimous approval from the County Board, Jackson will head a legislative program aimed at assuring the county collects all the available state and federal funds."It is a proven fact that the squeaky wheel gets the grease," said Jackson. "It is my intention - to squeak real loud."The program will include keeping in touch with local representatives to voice the needs of the county in special projects. He said without a legislative program Woodford could be left out."They won't know what we need if we don't communicate with them," said Jackson. "We're not looking to eat half the pie, we just want our piece."For example, Woodford County has some technology improvements that need to be made, said Jackson. Grants could fund portions of those projects.Jackson will work with the legislative committee to form an agenda that will be forwarded to legislators before next year's session begins.Another function of the program will be to inform lawmakers about the county's position on pending legislation. Having previously worked as a government affairs officer for a private company and a fire and police commissioner in Buffalo Grove, Jackson said his strength lies in working with legislators."That is one of the attributes that I bring to the table and I hope the county will take advantage of it," said Jackson.

We feel a lot better. It's apparent, that if Mr. Jackson is capable of letting Springfield know what we want them to know and that we'd like some money, and in addition do it with such "down to earth" colloquialisms, then all concerns about a County Administrator were baseless.

We charge nothing extra for the sarcasm.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Letters From: New Jersey (a cautionary tale)

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 03/26/06
New Jersey residents are still trying to grasp the impact Gov. Corzine's budget proposal, outlined last week to the Legislature, will have on their pocketbooks. One thing most people understand is that if significant changes aren't made to it, the tax burden will become even more unbearable. For some, it will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

While Corzine professes to recognize the pain his budget will inflict, we're not sure he fully appreciates the stresses New Jersey's tax system has placed on the average family, or the anger his failure to deliver the relief he promised during his campaign has generated. If he truly understood, he would have found a way to use the immense power of his office to take the radical steps needed to keep taxes from spiraling further out of control.

His proposal to increase the sales tax and a number of other lesser taxes isn't the worst of it. His decision to hold municipal and school aid flat will put additional upward pressure on property taxes.

The prospect of escalating sales and property taxes, the frustration over Corzine's failure to signal a willingness to take on the public employee unions that are choking the life out of the state's dwindling middle class and the ongoing revelations of political corruption and abuse of public office have brought taxpayers to the boiling point.

New Jersey residents can respond in one of two ways: They can either dismiss the notion that change will ever come, as many who have fled the state have already concluded, or they can fight back. We prefer the latter course.

The fight can take many forms, but it must include talking back to officials at all levels of government. Write, phone and e-mail your state legislators and insist they find other ways to cut spending — not only in state government, but in the schools, counties, towns and independent authorities.

Tell them you want changes to the Abbott district funding formula. Tell them you want mandatory consolidation of small school districts and municipalities, and joint purchasing of government supplies and services. Tell them you want reasonable limits on public employee sick time and vacation time, and reasonable employee contributions to health care insurance.

Tell them you don't want government workers collecting pensions prior to age 60. Tell them you want changes to collective bargaining rules that will put an end to public employee salary increases taxpayers can no longer afford. Tell them you want airtight caps on government spending and an end to the abuse of overtime and the obscene perks handed out to school administrators and other public servants.

With budget season in full swing in municipalities and school districts, show up at budget meetings and demand that your representatives do their part to hold down property taxes. Insist that they not use flat state aid as an excuse for jacking up property taxes. Tell them the aid levels should instead be seen as a signal they need to work even harder to cut non-essential spending.

So far, we have seen little evidence that they are trying hard enough. We have yet to report on a school board or municipality that has proposed tax rate increases that are equal to or lower than the rate of inflation. Most aren't even close. Some are projecting double-digit increases.

Don't let them get away with it.

The Answer My Friend, Is Blowin' In The Fields?

We're struggling here with ambivalence about the "Wind Farm" storm sweeping Central Illinois.

We're also thinking, hmmm . . . if in Woodford County, you've two or three hundred foot towers going up, why not make them WI-MAX internet distrubution points as well as turbines? Perhaps that could be built into the contract with the developers.

Surely, folks smarter than we have looked into this.