Letters to the Editor

Where are current funds going?

In the Jan. 25, 2017, Belleville News-Democrat, there was an article attempting to explain the purpose of $44 million in new sales taxes for the next 12 years for a total of $528 million. It was entitled, “St. Clair County officials join forces for two tax referenda,” and was accompanied by a video on bnd.com. In an earlier article dated Dec. 19, 2016, the planned use of funds was laid out, and on Dec. 25 there was an article entitled, “St. Clair County has a new budget, and the sheriff does not like it,” that showed a $41 million annual budget. If each city pays $5 million per year for public safety already, altogether we are talking about $210 million per year for public safety.

What exactly is happening to the funds that taxpayers are already doling out for public safety and school facilities? Is anyone aware that in East St. Louis the property tax rate is already as high as the law will allow them to raise it?

Moreover, where are the new jobs or new residents that would perhaps justify needing more public safety resources? Incarceration is trending downwards throughout the nation, and we are building new, bigger jails? Last I checked the population of St. Clair County is also trending down.

I did not see anything now that requires nor supports raising taxes on the citizens of St. Clair County, especially in East St. Louis!

Matt Hawkins, campaign coordinator, We The People’s Party