We all know Comptroller Topinka's public service resume, 12 years as a Member of the Illinois General Assembly, three term State Treasurer, Comptroller, and Illinois GOP Chairman. We knew the Judy that took head-on the establishment Illinois Democrats and yet invited them to the negotiating table and podium to speak. The Judy that chaired her GOP State Party yet held her fellow Republicans accountable, responsible, and challenged them to widen the political tent and "be real".
Locally, we knew that Judy did not forget Rock Island County either officially or politically. She hired a local person to attend to constituent and small government needs in this region. She was concerned with how our Rock Island Arsenal was doing and if John Deere was still going strong. Judy stood at the public podium with Mayors and Legislators of both sides of the aisle and encouraged them to work together.
Bustos against gas exploration
Why is Congresswoman Bustos against liquefied natural gas exports (H.R. 6) and oil and gas exploration (H.R. 1613)? She voted NO on both bills. It’s beyond me how she makes decisions like this without input from constituents.
If she were to ask for advice, I could give her five good reasons to support gas exploration like the Keystone XL.
First, jobs and economic growth. Keystone XL has already created 4,000 construction jobs. Furthermore, it will add economic value and will result in billions of dollars of tax revenue for states it runs through.
Second, the people want it. A Rasmussen poll shows that 61% of Americans support building the pipeline. Many unions want it. Former Secretary of Interior Ken Salazar called the project “a win-win.”
Third, environmentally safe. After multiple environmental reviews, the State Department has concluded that Keystone XL poses minimal environmental risk to soil, wetlands, water resources, vegetation, fish, and wildlife.
Fourth, can be built without the help of the taxpayer. Building and operating Keystone XL will result in real private-sector jobs that will grow the U.S. economy unlike Obama’s taxpayer- funded green jobs plan that siphons resources out of the market and forces energy prices up for the consumer.
Fifth, safest mode of getting oil and gas to Americans. When it comes to accidents, injuries, or fatalities, pipelines are the safest mode of transporting oil and gas.
Vote Bobby Schilling for Congress. He listens to you and then acts.
Rock Island County Republican Party Vice Chair
GOP has demonstrated leadership RICO needs
Sunday June 15, 2014
In his call for responsible government, Democratic Party Chairman Doug House is unfortunately a latecomer to the party.
The Republican Party in Rock Island County has been challenging the "Old Boy" leadership of the county board for years. Six years ago, with the county operating in the red, Rich Morthland challenged county leadership's' closed-door deals when he brought to light raises which the board was getting ready to hand out.
As a result of his demand for accountability, all raises except the raise for then-chairman Jim Bohnsack were rolled back. In the last 10 years, the chairman's salary nearly doubled. In the same 10 years the county has repeatedly covered deficits by raising property taxes.
Nepotism has long been a county byword. A significant percentage of county employees are related in some way to members of the board. Recently a member's son was hired at Loud Thunder. He is only the most recent of a long line of county hires based on "relative ability".
Mr. House's use of the term "improprieties" is appropriate. Last year, we had the gas scandal at the county highway department. Only one person was held accountable for abuse that happened over five years. Does anyone really believe that abuses continued over five years without being reported and only one person was responsible? Republicans raised this issue. Democrat chairman, Phil Banaszek defended it. When the scandal broke Mr. House said nothing.
The new comp-time scandal has spawned an investigation for potentially criminal activity. Would the state's attorney have called in the state police if the Republican Minority Caucus had not demanded action? Under Democrats we have seen both a state's attorney and a county clerk resign in scandal.
Public union salary negotiations are handled by a "retired" pension drawing member of the same union. This is a clear conflict of interest. Who represents the taxpayer in this arrangement?
The last byword in the Democratic vocabulary is incompetence.
Hope Creek's mismanagement is the most recent disaster to befall the county. It was built for $24 million (on borrowed funds) and appraises for about $14 million. It has been staffed with AFSCME personnel at a rate that is 24 percent higher than privately owned facilities.
Predictably, Hope Creek immediately went into the red It now costs at least $1.5 million in losses a year. Banazsek claims as board chairman he had no role in this problem. Before he was chairman, he was chair of the finance committee. As finance chairman, he was greatly responsible for this fiasco.
Under Democrats, the county has seen cash reserves disappear and its credit rating erode. This culture of cover-up has only weakened when challenged by a small but growing band of Republicans.
In his letter, Mr. House accurately proposed traditional Republican positions. Responsible smaller government, lower tax burdens, and decisions that are made for the people, not at the expense of the people are the solution.
If the people want to see improvement in their government, their best solution is to vote Republican and not count on 11th hour conversions by the Democratic leadership which created the problem.
William S. Bloom of Moline
Chair of the Rock Island County Republicans Central Committee
llinois is running massive deficits as is Rock Island County
llinois is running massive deficits as is Rock Island County. This is not news to anyone. At both levels of government, the Democrats want to apply the same solution which they have used over and over and which has not addressed the problem. They want to raise taxes.
People need to realize that raising property taxes is a double tax on home owners. Our homes are worth far less than comparable homes across the river. When the county raises property taxes it removes disposable income from our pockets, and it removes resale value from our homes. Ask any Realtor what the impact will be of a property tax increase in Rock Island County. It will not be pretty.
Before we go after the taxpayer again, we need to make sure we have exhausted every opportunity to reduce costs in government, and we need to insure that the pain is shared by everyone and isn’t hiding wage increases to the public unions.
Any tax increase on the homeowners should come with an ironclad agreement that there will be no salary increases on any county positions until the county is no longer running a deficit.
Public employees currently enjoy 12 paid public holidays. Private sector workers receive about seven holidays. Paid holidays should be rationalized between the public sector jobs and private sector. This will save the county one week of salary for every worker on the Rock Island County payroll. If a worker wants to celebrate Columbus Day, let them take a vacation day like the rest of us.
The Rock Island County Board should give up its health and retirement benefits package. We need to examine how prevailing wage is calculated and applied. If you ask our local mayors they will tell you (regardless of party) that they add 30 percent to their labor costs for prevailing wage projects.
Overpaying on projects hurts the ability of cities and counties to get things done. Area mayors will tell you they have projects on hold because the prevailing wage costs exceed the available budget.
If local governments were able to determine where prevailing wage is applied, and if the wages are calculated based on the true average, more projects will be completed, more jobs will be created and the cost of government will be lower for the people.