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THE BANKRUPTING OF RURAL AMERICA

 

 

 

 

Joyce Morrison
November 19, 2004
NewsWithViews.com

While taking a little ride in our local community to view the awesome beauty of the fall leaves, we saw new houses dotting the hillsides. Many of these houses were large and extravagant and the thought, “how can they pay for them?" immediately crossed my mind.

In our small, rural Illinois community, there are few jobs that can support this type of construction. The top wage earners locally are in the education or medical fields and many of the homes belong to this group. Another segment who might build would be those who commute to the city for better paying positions, but most local jobs remain in the minimum wage category.

A third segment of builders are those who really can’t afford to build but couldn’t resist the low interest loans. They now have a new house and not a dime in their pocket that is not plastic. Any unexpected expenditures means major problems.

Looking a little closer we see new schools being built and we wonder who will pay for them.

Tourism and recreational jobs that were meant to replace jobs lost by factory closings will be the first to feel the impact as people are forced to choose between their wants and needs. .

Many of the workers at these jobs are already struggling and collect unemployment part of the year. Even when working, they depend on government programs to make ends meet. That is the real side of economic development in rural America. The costly economic development programs are rarely accompanied by jobs that pay a decent wage.

With heating bills, gasoline, building supplies, property taxes and other expenses on the rise, can the “cost of living increases” possibly keep up with the “cost of living?”

Schools in rural communities are highly dependent upon agriculture for their existence. Without major industry, farm land is especially vital to provide the property tax dollars needed for schools and local government to operate and the tax rates have been extremely high in recent years. In our area, 66% of the tax dollar will go to the school district.

The county and schools never try to cut costs, they just try to tax the public for more money.

Grain prices are at an all time low. Government subsidies fall far short of bringing prices to the break-even point. The American farmer is in a serious financial situation.

The cost of nitrogen has quadrupled. Fuel costs have doubled and the cost to purchase equipment has forced the small farmer to use equipment that is forty years old or older. A 50 lb. bag of seed corn often costs over $100 and the list goes on.

While many city consumers, say “who cares?” rural communities cannot exist without agriculture. They depend on local farms to be the backbone to keep the economy healthy. In Illinois, one of every four jobs is related to agriculture.

Every business from the implement dealer, feed and seed sales to the coffee shops depends on farm related jobs as their consumer base and this has a domino effect.

Our schools are decreasing in enrollment. Where families once had four or five children, many now only have one or two and yet we see new schools being built in rural areas. It appears they are counting the chicks before they hatch and someone is going to get hit hard for at least the next twenty years to pay for extravagant buildings which are often unnecessary.

Think about this--IF the economy should fail and the housing boom screeches to a halt, who will be left to pay for these new schools?

Will retirees on fixed incomes be able to hang on? An increase in their property taxes could possibly put them out of their homes. If you think you own your property, try missing your property tax payments and see who really owns it.

Our school district is in the process of constructing two new schools. Although the people defeated the building project by 70% with a non-binding referendum, and the need for new schools was never proven, the school administration smelled a grant. With encouragement from the state Capital Development Board, they totally disregarded the wishes of the people and started their project.

It had to be proven new schools were needed before the grant was made available. Since the first architect didn’t come up with the right information, apparently they found one who would play with the figures and fudge on the condition of the buildings and by hook or crook, we’d get those new schools….regardless of cost.

A wink from the state and from the people who deal with selling the bonds, and they have their approval to put a small community, against their wishes, in debt so deep they can never recover until the year 2029. The grant only covers a portion of the costs….the taxpayers at the local level will be taxed for over $40 million before the debt is paid.

The school superintendent immediately retired after the paperwork was done and now she enjoys a huge retirement salary while the rest of the community is struggling.

This particular school district is in trouble and the high school has not yet been completed. The district has a $5.6 million budget deficit - and this has nothing to do with building the new schools. This is merely their regular operating costs and current expenditures.

The building costs will be tacked on in 2008 and the 2009 tax bills will crush many home owners and farmers. These new schools can literally bankrupt the community.

It would appear this is not unique to our area alone, because this situation exists throughout Illinois and possibly the nation.

Recently I heard a man say “with sheckles, go shackles.” There is no such thing as a free grant or subsidy. Something has been compromised or given in return.

The schools are sacred cows and cannot be touched. When they say it is “for the children,” everyone is supposed to bow in homage while we watch the children being dumbed down. The finest lawyers fear to tackle the corruption that lies within the school system.

We have gubernatorial candidates saying “if elected, we will spend more money and fix education.” These same candidates don’t even know the three E’s being taught which now supersede the three R’s.

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It is futile to fight against, if one does not know what one is fighting for." -- Ayn Rand (1905-1982) Author Source: Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal

If this similar situation is happening in your school district, please email dayspring365@yahoo.com and tell us of your school district’s building projects.

© 2004 Joyce Morrison - All Rights Reserved

E-Mails are used strictly for NWVs alerts, not for sale


Joyce Morrison is a weekly columnist and news reporter for the Illinoisleader.com, an online conservative news source. She also writes for SOWER magazine, NewsWithViews.com, as well as various other publications. She is a weekly participant on the teleconference of the Illinois Policy Institute, a conservative think tank and is a pro-life, pro-family activist.

Morrison attempts to educate the public regarding the dangers coming to their local communities through Sustainable Development and Agenda 21 programs which are designed to gradually take control of all private property through undue regulations.

She is a chapter leader for Concerned Women for America as well as Secretary to the Board of Directors of Rural Restoration/ADOPT Mission, a national farm ministry located in Sikeston, MO. FarmersRuralRestoration.com. Her most enjoyable time is spent teaching a senior adult Sunday School class which is a focus on hope and encouragement.

E-Mail: dayspring365@yahoo.com



 

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Grain prices are at an all time low. Government subsidies fall far short of bringing prices to the break-even point. The American farmer is in a serious financial situation.