Vote no on sales tax increase

Staff Writer
Geneseo Republic

On election day, Feb. 2, a referendum will appear on the Henry County ballot again to create a special sales tax for the purpose of courthouse repairs.

Just this past year, the voters rejected this idea by a clear margin. I was one of the “no” votes because I do not trust the Democrat majority on the county board to make fiscally prudent decisions with our tax dollars.

The majority of Democrats on the County Board supported destroying a children’s ballfield next to the courthouse to make room for a parking lot.

This expenditure was estimated to cost $250,000, and it was heavily opposed by the people and elected officials of Cambridge. Why wasn't the Democrat majority putting courthouse repairs higher on the priority list than a parking lot pet project?

Why didn’t the Democrat majority keep a regular and effective schedule of maintenance over the last 20 years to keep the courthouse from getting into a condition of disrepair? They have spent approximately $60,000 over the last decade for an unnecessary public relations position. That money could have been much better used, as several Republicans on the board have said when voting no on the PR job, on priority needs.

If the referendum passed, the cost of financing this project over time, due to interest, would be expensive. We should pay for these courthouse repairs with spending cuts.

We need to open up the books of the county to full and complete online transparency, in real time. Governor candidate Adam Andrzejewski founded a non-profit group called “For the Good of Illinois” that shows local governments how to do this without cost to the taxpayers. If we can see the wasteful spending, we can cut the spending and pay for more essential county needs.

The Democrat leadership recently passed a $500,000 deficit budget, hired, then fired, an underqualified relative of one of their members to run Animal Control, and selected an Iowa resident to serve as county administrator. This employee has struggled to secure large-dollar grant monies to address the historic courthouse’s needs.

I agree with Geneseo Republican board member Bill Preston’s take on this issue and suggest that the voters of Henry County vote “no” on the sales tax increase and require the Democrat majority to go back to the drawing board and make tough cuts and tough decisions, which is what all of us have to do with our homes and businesses in this difficult economy.

Jon A. Zahm, Osco

Republican candidate, District 2, Henry County Board