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Food deserts – like it or not, Rockford has them

Chuck Sweeny’s recent post about food deserts missed the mark in both tone and in adequately defining what a food desert really is.  In lamenting his lack of easy access to a Costco, Chuck reduced an issue that deserves critical attention to a liberal buzzword.  The implication and implicit eye-roll are a reminder that people with power struggle with basic empathy, and locally, a sincere lack of understanding for a gigantic swath of Rockford residents. What is a food desert and do food deserts actually exist?  There’s a lot of debate over the...

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Four reasons for a Fair Tax

When Illinois rewrote its State Constitution in 1970, the drafters included language requiring that all income be taxed at the same rate.  This was a popular stance at the time – when income inequality was low, serious pension obligations were a generation away, and medical costs were a fraction of what they are today.  Things have changed. Sometime before the end of this spring’s legislative session in Springfield, the House and Senate will vote on whether they should put before the voters an amendment to the State Constitution which...

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Fair Share – Property Taxes Funding Education

In the mix of dealing with the State’s broken pension system, unfunded liabilities, and unpaid bills there is another matter that should be at the forefront of conversations – education. Funding for education has grown rapidly over the years.  Taxpayers are feeling the hit.  The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) 2012 Annual Report indicates that since fiscal year 1993, state, local and federal spending (adjusted for inflation) has grown more than 73 percent.  Illinois taxpayers do not need graphs, in-depth research or reports to...

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Illinois Charter School Commission

Charter schools allow parents to be able to choose an appropriate educational setting for their children by judging the merit of the educational institution, classroom setting, and academic performance. The existence of charter schools allows parents to choose a path for their child.  They are very popular in Illinois and around the country because they offer opportunity. Charter school enrollment rates are increasing at an astronomical rate because parents are becoming actively involved in their child’s academic performance.  Parents are...

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Sheriff Candidate Forum This Thursday At Next Rockford

Next Rockford Meeting Thursday, March 13, 2014 YWCA 7:30-8:45 am (extended program)   Topic: Winnebago County Sheriff Candidate Forum Twitter Hashtag: #nextsheriff   Crime continues to be a hot topic in the Rockford Region. Few argue the importance of a safe community; however, there is much debate over the plan to achieve this objective in a time of limited financial resources and increased poverty.  Join us Thursday and hear from the two Republican and five Democratic Sheriff Candidates in advance of the March 18 Primary Election....

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Revenge Porn Laws

In our ever changing world lawmakers are playing a game of “catch-up” that every day just to keep pace with the fast moving worlds of technology and social media. One issue making headlines is a recent cyber trend called “revenge porn”.  This term refers to the malicious posting of private sexual messages, images or videos on a website.  Currently, New Jersey and California are the only states that have laws punishing the act.  As it goes with most new legislation, those States who are the first to pass new laws become a type of “road map” to...

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Illinois Great Recession

Recently, the Illinois House of Representatives Finance Committee has heard testimony from several agencies regarding the fiscal health of the state as well as economic development results. Due to Illinois poor business investment and economic climate, it is a top priority to figure out exactly what makes other states more competitive and attractive. A recent report was released by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) claiming that Illinois created, 64,300 jobs from May 2013 to December 2013. Illinois was ranked...

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