Meet John Doe: Let’s just continue our failed policies

By Paul Gorski

I’ve written two articles, “Better health care and education will spur job growth, part one” (Sept. 5-11 issue) and “Better health care and education will spur job growth, part two” (Sept. 12-18 issue), that focused on better uses for the tipping fee money the county receives from the Winnebago landfill. I specifically recommend we use some of these funds on education and public health, with a heavy dose of coordination between these expenditures and economic development.

I had one call and an online reader who didn’t support that plan. Online reader “John” commented “what a load of crap” and suggested this plan reflected my “socialist attitude.” On the contrary, my plan follows standard, conservative business principles. I’m simply suggesting we invest in programs 1) that have a measurable return on investment (ROI), and 2) are consistent with the roles of counties in local government.

The county now spends the tipping fee money on a list of non-economic development-related programs. Granted, the dollars go to some good local groups, but the tie-in to economic development simply is not there. Where’s the ROI, and how does it relate to what services counties are supposed to provide?

Counties are responsible for the management of certain public services and coordinating infrastructure development and maintenance. I can’t find any state law that reads “counties should stockpile money collected from residents’ garbage fees and give it to a random list of recipients every year.” Where is the plan, the accountability? Two initiatives: public health and coordination of education efforts through the regional superintendent of schools are the jurisdiction of counties. So, we should invest more wisely in those efforts.

As it is, our health department gets most of its funds from grants. Maichle “Mike” Bacon, public health administrator of the Winnebago County Health Department, and his staff do a phenomenal job finding and getting those grants. However, I’d rather not have to rely so heavily on handouts for our public health programs.

Public health is “infrastructure,” just as roads are infrastructure. Both public health and local road building require mixing and matching local tax dollars with state and federal tax dollars to make programs happen. As not to be dependent on begging for public health infrastructure dollars, we should spend landfill tipping fee revenue on coordinated public health, education and job training programs that have measurable goals, focused on laying the groundwork for consistent economic development.

Or, we could continue with spending plans that have no measurable return on investment and are not consistent with the role of county government. Which brings me back to the title of the article, “Let’s just continue our failed policies.” No, let’s not do that.

We need your help now. An effort to cut the county’s portion of the health department budget by $300,000 failed recently. Board members may try to put the cuts in place when they vote on the new budget next week. Ask your county board member to support the health department and to vote against any cuts to its already meager budget.

Paul Gorski ( is a Cherry Valley Township resident and a former Winnebago County Board member.

From the Sept. 19-25, 2012, issue

One thought on “Meet John Doe: Let’s just continue our failed policies

  • September 19, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Thank you for reading my comments. I honestly never thought that would happen in Winnebago County, famous for it’s leadership-in-a-vacuum.

    Let me clarify two points. First, I believe that it is WRONG to turn Winnebago Copunty into the “Garbage Capital” of Illinois. There should be little to no “tipping fees” available.

    If we must be the garbage capital, outsiders should pay MORE, not the sweetheart they currently get. Taxpayers like me are stuck with higher rates while politicians like you pontificate how best to spend this bonanza. In addition, taxpayers like me will be stuck with the bill when the time comes for a new landfill.

    Second, since this “tipping fee” bonanza is likely to continue, every single dime should be used to lure jobs here. EVERY SINGLE DIME.

    Currently, almost 50% of people in the United States PAY NO TAXES. Democrats like you spend our money as fast as you can get your hands on it. Those of us in the other 50% haven’t seen raises in years and aren’t going to see one anytime soon. We are fearful of losing our jobs, and those of us a little more advanced in age know that if we lose our jobs, the likihood of finding something is almost nonexistent. We go to work on edge everyday because we know one slip-up, and that could be it.

    To add insult to injury, we are forced to watch public employees demand more and more, and do less and less, every single day. Employees who are completely protected from getting fired or layed off. Their unions OWN our politicians, who cow-tail to their every whim.

    What we need is a break. Instead of finding new ways to spend our tax money, how about giving the taxpayers a rebate? How about reducing our tax burden with these “profits”???

    Socialism is only fun until you run out of other peoples money to spend.

    Sorry, but I have to stick by my “Load of Crap” comment.

    P.S. I point out the obvious fact that you are a socialist, but don’t take that to mean I support county board Republicans. They are a clown-circus, just like the Democrats, and they are just as responsible for the irresponsibility.

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