Saturday, April 29, 2006

Another Illinois tax fighting group has entered the arena. Please welcome Woodford Tax - The Truth Detectors
to the world of tax fighting.

Letter to the Editor: Public school monopolies

The following letter to the editor appeared on the Northwest Herald and Students First websites.

Letter to the Editor: Public school monopolies


By Robert and Kimberly Sperlazzo , Carpentersville, IL

Northwest Herald

Most people lack appreciation of free-market principles in education. The public school system is a government monopoly that doesn't compete fairly, yet avoids all anti-trust lawsuits.

Private and home-schooled students' families must pay for government overhead, while reaping none of the benefits. We're funding a bloated bureaucracy instead of funding the students, the true goal of education.

Education tax credits are one solution. The government would not siphon off their huge expenses. More money would directly fund students, allowing many teachers to migrate from government schools.

No teacher should have to leave government schools. But the total number of students wouldn't change - only where they attend school and create jobs. Thus, teachers could transfer to private schools, teaching those same students while receiving better salaries.

The TV show, 20/20, reported: "American schools don't teach as well as schools in other countries because they are government monopolies, and monopolies don't have much incentive to compete. In Belgium ... the money is attached to the kids ... government funds education - at many different kinds of schools."

Let's end government's stranglehold on education ( More money is no answer to substandard schools. We must end our dependency on a failed system where the costs keep rising.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Socialization and Homeschooling

This is a cute little piece on homeschooling and socialization. This piece came from the New Oxford Review

Apparently, the problem with homeschooling is the socialization of children. In the Kolbe Little Home Journal (Fall 2005), there is a brief item called "Homeschooling Family Finds Ways to Adapt to a Public School 'Socialization' Program." Here it is:

"When my wife and I mention we are strongly considering homeschooling our children, we are without fail asked, 'But what about socialization?' Fortunately, we found a way our kids can receive the same socialization that government schools provide. On Mondays and Wednesdays, I will personally corner my son in the bathroom, give him a wedgie and take his lunch money. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, my wife will make sure to tease our children for not being in the 'in' crowd, taking special care to poke fun at any physical abnormalities. Fridays will be 'Fad and Peer Pressure Day.' We will all compete to see who has the coolest toys, the most expensive clothes, and the loudest, fastest, and most dangerous car. Every day, my wife and I will adhere to a routine of cursing and swearing in the hall and mentioning our weekend exploits with alcohol and immorality.... And we have asked them to report us to the authorities in the event we mention faith, religion, or try to bring up morals and values."

So much for socialization!
"You can have Peace or you can have Freedom. Don't ever count on having
both at the same time."
--Robert Anson Heinlein

Thursday, April 27, 2006

It's time for "Taxpayers Week"

Thanks to our friends at the the Family Taxpayers Foundation for this piece.

It's time for "Taxpayers Week"

By Bill Zettler
After reading various news reports recently promoting “Education Week” I decided it would only be fair that I represent the taxpayer for “Taxpayer Week” where we taxpayers would solicit praise from various public employee groups.  I can see something like the following press release from the teachers union:
“We teachers want to take this opportunity to thank all the taxpayers out there who make our jobs possible.
First of all we want to thank you for giving us two weeks off during the Christmas Holidays and three months off during the summer. It would be a real drag having to work during the holidays and trying to find something to do with your kids during the summer is impossible.  We would love to work 12 months but we know you need the kids in the fields for the summer harvest.
And thanks for the guaranteed jobs.  We know it must be tough getting laid off and having to find health insurance and a way to make the mortgage payment, but hey, God must have loved taxpayers because he made so many of them.  If a few of you go down the tubes the others can easily pick up the tax ball and carry it across the goal line.  And to think some of us almost went to work for Motorola – whew, close call.
And thanks again for the 8% raises you gave us this year. We know that the average white-collar worker only received about 3% while their property taxes went up 7% but if you drop your vacation plans you should be okay.  Let the kids watch Disney on TV - they don’t actually have to go there.  And the really neat thing is we get the raises whether we do a good job or not.  Meritocracy is so overrated.
Thanks also for allowing us to retire at 55 on multi-million dollar pensions.  We know most of you will have to work until you are 65 or 70 to pay the $197 billion due to the Teachers Retirement System over the next 40 years but don’t worry Walmart is growing fast and there will be a huge need for greeters.  And besides those 401K’s and IRA’s that all of you have are so annoying having to worry about the stock market and stuff like that.  And did you know you have to invest your own money in those things?  What’s that about?
Oh, and thanks for making us the highest paid white-collar workers in the Chicago area.  Being ranked first on the Bureau of Labor Statistics list is really impressive.  How cool to make more than engineers, computer programmers and accountants.  And we didn’t have to take those impossible math courses in college either.  Maybe our new motto should be “First in pay, last in test scores.”
And finally, thanks for giving us the money to give to the politicians in Springfield.  It’s so much easier for you if you just let us do it.  After all, we gave the governor $2.5 million for his campaign and he hasn’t mentioned that silly voucher thing even once.”

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Comrade columnist

The following letter to the editor appeared in the Northwest Herald.

If the Founding Fathers could read comrade Jennifer Martikean's April 14 column, they'd spin even faster in their graves.

Her puffery shows what's wrong with our country. The primary elections showed that like her, the majority prefer socialism and government nannies over freedom and responsibility.

I have my job because I studied hard in school and work hard at my job, not because I'm "lucky."

Your 1040 doesn't tell you how much you can give government.

You can give government everything you own if you want. Your 1040 tells you how much government forced out of you in exchange for not imprisoning you. In that sense, freedom indeed isn't free.

Compare the Bill of Rights to the Communist Manifesto's 10 planks at Which one lists "A heavy progressive or graduated income tax" (and also "government schools")?

In the Declaration of Independence, the Founding Fathers told us what to do: After a "long Train of Abuses and Usurpations ... it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government."

A government that swipes half of its citizens' earnings, fattens itself inexorably, and operates with monumental inefficiency is nothing to be proud of.

Chris Jenner


The following is the article to which Mr. Jenner was responding.
Take pride in paying Uncle Sam, I do

[published on Fri, Apr 14, 2006]

This time of year might be taxing for some, but for me it always has made me proud to live in America.

No matter what form you fill out this weekend, you should feel good about the contribution you are making to keep the country running.

On the Internal Revenue Service Web site, the main piece of advice is not to procrastinate filling out the tax forms. Frankly, it is too late for that now. But this year you get a slight break because Tax Day, April 15, falls on a Saturday. So after eating a big slice of Easter ham on Sunday, you can sequester yourself and get cooking on the 1040 form and pop it in the mail first thing April 17. Or at least before midnight.

To view the rest of the article go to the Northwest Herald.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Pay hikes given to 7 in D-50

The Harvard school board has put the pocketbooks of the administrators ahead of the need of the children they are to protect and educate while not in parental care. Funny how a public school thinks raises are more important than textbooks. Surely this so called found money will be depleted with their recent spending sprees (salary increases). The question is will they plead poor and say they must run a thefterendum come November to buy new textbooks?

Pay hikes given to 7 in D-50

[published on Mon, Apr 24, 2006]
HARVARD – Although there still are a few things the district would like to accomplish financially, annual raises for administrators have been approved.

District 50 spokesman Bill Clow said the school board recently decided to give $2,665 raises for each of the district's seven administrators.

"They did flat across the board raises for all administrators," Clow said. "I think they felt it would be equitable, that everyone would get the same raise."

Those who received an increase, which will go into effect July 1, include Business Manager Donna Joyce, whose salary with pension will go to $72,705; Assistant Superintendent Sue Smith, who also works as principal of Central Elementary School, will have a salary of $84,534 after the increase.

Superintendent Randy Gross, who with pension now earns about $115,427 annually, was not among those slated to receive the pay hike. Gross plans to take a position with a Rockton school district after his contract with District 50 expires June 30.

Gross' departure has Harvard High School Principal Michelle McReynolds topping out as the highest paid administrator, with the upcoming raises putting her salary at $95,442.

School Board President Ken Book said the raises essentially were keeping in line with the cost of living.

At the same time, Book said District 50 still remained a "bare bones district" in terms of its finances. There still were several areas where officials would like to spend money, such as reducing class sizes and purchasing new textbooks, Book said. He said he understood that some people might question the annual raises.

"Everybody tries to watch their tax dollars and make sure those tax dollars are being spent properly," he said.

The district plans to hire an interim superintendent to replace Gross. Officials have said the person likely would work for between $40,000 to $60,000, because the person hired would work only 100 days out of the school year. The school board is expected to make a decision on the interim superintendent at its May meeting.


To view the rest of the story go to the Northwest Herald website.

Monday, April 24, 2006

‘Strong political economy’ key to reform in Illinois

The following editorial appeared in the Daily Herald. The following is a quote from the editorial below "Illinois is the perfect breeding ground for corruption. It shuns openness. It champions pay to play. It has more government than most other states, making it more distant from the public, less transparent. There is a pitiful lack of corruption prosecutions in state courts, and a glaring lack of interest in initiating reform. Even as aggressive and effective as federal prosecutors have been in Illinois, we wonder whether they can detect and pursue all official corruption.

There is no one pill to cure this political sickness, nor will a cure come quickly. But it will not come without a “strong political economy” and public officials who either come by their honestly naturally or are forced to it by reform."

My question is when will newspaper columnists and reporters realize that public schools are nothing more than GOVERNMENT schools with corruption, fraud, waste, patronage and pay to play politics. This group also refuses to reform itself. I look forward to the day when the federal prosecutors investigate Illinois' public education system.

‘Strong political economy’ key to reform in Illinois

After George Ryan’s conviction — and being mindful that so many other Illinois public officials have been sent off to Uncle Sam’s slammer — you might wonder whether we are the most corrupt state in the country.

Well, take heart. We are only the fifth worst when it comes to corruption. That’s according to the Corporate Crime Reporter, in a 2004 report to the National Press Club. Mississippi, North Dakota, Louisiana and Alaska are, respectively, ahead of Illinois in the number of federal corruption convictions.

But being fifth is bad enough. Federal prosecutors remove a bit of muck here and bit there, but the swamp of corruption is not drained. Why can Illinois not shake its well-earned reputation as a crooked state? What will it take to change this culture of corruption?

“Perhaps what matters more than strong laws is a strong political economy — reporters, citizen groups, prosecutors, judges, religious leaders — who are willing to speak out about the rampant corruption in our midst,” concludes the Corporate Crime Reporter, a legal newsletter edited by Russell Mokhiber.

But that community of voices for change can’t grow silent between scandals. It must be persistent in demanding reform, not least of which is opening up government in a state that too often claims entitlement to secrecy.

Consider that residents and journalists in one of the states deemed to be among the least corrupt by the Corporate Crime Reporter — Iowa — have worked tirelessly to open up government. There, the courts can actually oust public officials who are repeat violators of the state’s Open Meetings Act and Public Records Law.

Government in Iowa still can be stubborn about obeying sunshine laws. But a culture of openness has been established there as opposed to Illinois, where toothless open government laws would not even be feared in Beijing.

Leadership on accountability in government is hard to find, but at least Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has been receptive to, and acting on, citizen and media complaints of government in hiding. Those championing open government have an ally in Madigan. Legislators should share her respect for the public’s right to accountability in government and at last enact open government laws that carry real consequences for violators. And then those laws should be vigorously enforced by state and county prosecutors.

But it is not enough to open government. Change must come in the way people get into government.

In the wake of the Ryan verdict, candidates are doubtlessly going to declare themselves to be reformers. But take them as mere speechmakers in search of votes if they are not serious about changing the rotten pay-to-play system that gives special advantages to those who contribute to campaigns — or if they are players seeking pay themselves. The power of the return on a campaign dollar is also one than corrupts.

Beyond this, changing the culture of corruption in Illinois means giving a chance to those who actually believe their honesty, integrity and sincere desire to serve without individual gain — and without having to pay to play — are good enough to get them elected. It means demanding of candidates real answers about how they will change a corrupt state that takes little interest in governing the conduct of its elected officials.

Illinois is the perfect breeding ground for corruption. It shuns openness. It champions pay to play. It has more government than most other states, making it more distant from the public, less transparent. There is a pitiful lack of corruption prosecutions in state courts, and a glaring lack of interest in initiating reform. Even as aggressive and effective as federal prosecutors have been in Illinois, we wonder whether they can detect and pursue all official corruption.

There is no one pill to cure this political sickness, nor will a cure come quickly. But it will not come without a “strong political economy” and public officials who either come by their honestly naturally or are forced to it by reform.

Daily Herald.

Sunday, April 23, 2006

D-158 board checks out auditor's charges

Board present Mike Skala said the following about the audit firm investigating D - 158 "I want there to be some kind of checks and balances." The irony is that many of the taxpayers feel the same exact way about D - 158, it's administrators and it's board.

D-158 board checks out auditor's charges

[published on Sun, Apr 23, 2006]
HUNTLEY – Questions lingered Friday in District 158 over about $13,000 in additional charges from its auditor.

"We didn't give them authorization just for a blank check," school board President Mike Skala said Friday. "I want there to be some kind of checks and balances."

Board members on Thursday delayed a payment to accounting firm William F. Gurrie. Skala said he and his colleagues wanted more details to make sure that the firm's fees were accurate and necessary.

At Thursday's meeting, board members said they had agreed for the district to spend about $30,000 for its audit.

But the district already has spent more than double that – about $61,000 – its finance director, Stanley Hall, said Friday. That figure does not include the latest fee of about $13,000 and possible additional payments, Hall said.

Workers from William F. Gurrie recently finalized the district's audit more than nine months after the end of the fiscal year. A discrepancy of about $60,000 remains between the district's books and bank balances, down from about $2 million before experts discovered input errors and other problems.

To view the rest of the story go to the Northwest Herald website.