Saturday, November 11, 2006

Peoria Pundit Calls 150 on Bonds

Peoria Pundit hits this one out of the park in his blog:

Retiring State Sen. George Shadid is torn over whether or not to try to override Gov. Blagojevich’s veto of legislation that would let the Public Building Commission raise taxes on behalf of Peoria School District 150 without benefit of a referendum.

“I don’t think we’re able to satisfy the governor because the governor has a very narrow definition, or a very conservative definition, of what a tax increase is,” said district treasurer Guy Cahill.

The school district’s position is that the legislation would not lead to a tax increase.

Rather, the district would replace old bonds with new bonds. As a result, the tax rate would hold steady, but people would pay that rate for a longer period of time. If the school district does not issue new bonds, the tax rate gradually would decrease starting in 2007.

Shadid said he is trying to get a consensus from community leaders about whether to attempt the veto override.

The senator says he normally would be completely in favor of helping out District 150, but too many people have told him they they just flat out do not trust the people in charge of the district these days.

My two cents: I am one of those people who just doesn’t trust District 150 these days. But I would be opposed regardless.

Let’s dispense with the “it’s not a tax increase because your tax bill is the same argument.”

Lets say you took out a car loan. The last payment was made in October and you owe no more money, your obligation is over. But the bank sends you a bill anyway for the exact same amount in November. You call them to ask what’s going on and they say you have no right to complain because it’s the exact same bill you got last month and it’s no increase in your financial obligation to the bank.

That’s exactly that District 150 wants to do. Folks, the district is retiring one debt and that means taxpayers’ obligation is over. State law prevents them from going into debt again without a voter referendum. Because trust for District 150 is at an all-time low, there is no way voters will approve. So, they want a state law to allow the city’s public building commission — the PBA — to have the power to issue bonds to help pay for District 150’s planned building spree without benefit of a referendum. And the backers of this plan are walking around telling folks it’s not a tax increase because the tax bill is going to be the same .. just like my hypothetical bank.

It’s a tax increase folks. Cahill knows it. He’s a money guy. He knows he’s feeding taxpayers a smooth line.

Don’t fall for this line.

State universities created for sons of toil

We were particularly struck by the following editorial letter to the Indianapolis Star dated Friday, November 10, 2006. While clearly discussing Purdue in particular, we think Mr. Morills comments are worth remembering as our state universities and community colleges race ahead further and further from their roots. As always, the emphases are our own:

I was disappointed in my alma mater, Purdue, and Indiana University, after reading The Star article ("In-state students increasingly on the outs," Oct. 30.) It felt like I just got kicked out of the house so my dad can give my room to a stranger from Illinois.

The state university's first priority is with the natives because we pay for them through our taxes. Purdue is certainly to be beholden to sons of the state because it is a land-grant college whose chief congressional architect, Rep. Justin Smith Morrill, said in 1862: "This bill proposes to establish at least one college in every state upon a sure and perpetual foundation, accessible to all, but especially to the sons of toil."

Admission standards are expected and understood. However, these state universities were not designed for the intelligentsia and their own elitist ends by recruiting "talent" and exclusive bumper-sticker honor society students. They were designed for us -- the sons of toil.

Greg Rosen

Thursday, November 09, 2006

ANOTHER Tax District in Woodford County?

We can see right now that a referendum is coming on a "Eureka Park District" being created and funded from new property taxes on owners in what is roughly the CUSD #140 area.

We need another taxing authority in Woodford County like we need another piece of SPAM e-mail.

There are already too many taxing districts (authorities) in Woodford County - 140 at last count. That's one unique taxing body for every 265 residents!

We can see why the City of Eureka and District #140 would be on board for this train wreck, the former eager to shift costs out of budget and the latter figuring it will be good for the athletic program, and better to keep those costs elsewhere on the tax bills. What is also clear is that the main thrust is a land-grab by the Eureka Youth Recreation Association and the local Junior Football League.

We (and we hope you) will keep a close eye on this one.

For The "Common Good"

We suspect that you will be hearing a great deal about "The Common Good" over the next months and years from the "new" congressional leaders.

(As a side note, this "national 'vote for change' " translated into a massive reelection of incumbents - as usual. This year's rate is around 96%.)

Hold on to your wallets. This "Common Good" work is code for transferring money to the special interest groups which elect the majority.

It will be a "difficult slog", but if you, unlike the majority of Americans, can hold onto an integrated philosophy of what is best for you, your family, and ALL citizens, you will prevail.

Unfortunately, most voters don't have a consistent, coherent political philosophy. They will pick and choose issues which benefit them and they really don't care about society as a whole. It's a contradictory patchwork; and it works for pandering politicians.

Americans seem to also have a taste for telling other what or what not to do. Referrenda on banning smoking, caging pets, extending zoning ordinances, etc. are more popular than ever - as long as it's the OTHER guy paying and getting regulated. Voters at the local level have tasted using government power to force others to their viewpoint and it makes them feel empowered.

Stay the course and do not be seduced. Stay active locally with your county, school board, lobrary board, fire district, etc.

Your taxes on a state and federal basis are going to be increasing more rapidly than ever before. Get prepared for it and work to ensure your local taxes are held in check.

Good luck, we're all counting on you.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Election Night Online

Two spots not to miss for you election results junkies:

1. Illinois State Board of Elections

They've promised to have "live" updating numbers beginning when the polls close at 7 PM.


Yeah, we know, but coverage can be expected to be extensive and the Web site has been promoting the CNN Pipeline live video-news premium service touting live pundits and reports from election headquarters. You can also create a personalized scorecard to watch individual races.

In addition, they've invited almost two dozen political bloggers to "live-blog" the results from an Internet cafe in Washington, D.C. Some of the blogs will be taken live on the air on the tv side.