Friday, March 9, 2012

IRS May Make Political Groups Pay Dearly for Keeping Donors Secret -- And Out Them


But in a sign that the agency may be waking from its slumber, the IRS has sent detailed questionnaires to several Tea Party organizations -- and possibly other political groups -- to determine if they truly qualify for the 501(c)(4) designation intended for groups whose exclusive purpose is to promote social welfare.
Should any group currently calling itself a 501(c)(4) have its designation denied or revoked, tax experts said the consequences could be severe, including fines of 35 percent or more of the money they raised in secret.

And the groups might have to make donors' names public.

Click on the following for more details:  IRS May Make Political Groups Pay Dearly for Keeping Donors Secret -- And Out Them

Kelly Cassidy Proposes 'Viagra Amendment' To Ultrasound Mandate In Illinois

An Illinois lawmaker proposed an amendment to a state mandatory ultrasound bill that would require men to watch a graphic video about the side effects of Viagra before legally being able to receive a prescription for it.

The amendment's sponsor, State Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D), said she wanted to add gender equity to the "Ultrasound Opportunity Act" proposed in the Illinois House, which would require women to undergo a sometimes invasive, medically unnecessary ultrasound procedure before having an abortion. Cassidy said her proposal should not be dismissed as a merely symbolic "protest amendment."

Click on the following to read more about this storyKelly Cassidy Proposes 'Viagra Amendment' To Ultrasound Mandate In Illinois

An American Auto Bailout - For France? - Yahoo! News

In a move little noticed outside of the business pages, General Motors last week bought more than $400 million in shares of PSA Peugeot Citroen - a 7 percent stake in the company.

Because U.S. taxpayers still own roughly one-quarter of GM, they now own a piece of Peugeot

Click on the following for more details:  An American Auto Bailout - For France? - Yahoo! News

BCJ: A Renewed Vision Of Township Government Part I


Click on the photocopy to enlarge:

A Renewed Vision Of Township Government
Part I

Governmental Separation

By James Middleton
In a perfect world the economy would be booming,
media reporters would be nonbiased, legislation would
result from bipartisan agreement and Greek bond holders
would not sacrifice their investment to save the European
Union. However, this is not a perfect world as witnessed by
a federal government that promotes political causes, a state
government that refuses to recognize a pension tsunami and
one level of local government that endures when it should
be reevaluated.
Government in America is layered with the federal
government atop state and local governments that are
divided, in Illinois, between county, township and
municipalities. The founders imagined that a layered form
of government could best serve the needs of the citizens.
Over recent years, some have wondered if one of the
three layers of local government remains vital, or if the
services this layer provides could better be offered by other
local governments. Would the dissolution of that layer save
tax revenue?
This piece and two that will follow will examine the
role and responsibilities of township government. We will
examine how this layer and others can be dissolved and the
potential result if such a step occurred.
This first piece will explain why the founders of America,
dating to 1754, proposed that the new nation they imagined
would offer citizens a layered democratic republic. The
second piece will examine township government in detail
and explain how townships and municipalities may be
dissolved. The final piece will evaluate the potential result
if township government was dissolved.
The purpose here is not to promote the dissolution of any
layer of government. Rather, these ideas are presented with
a detailed explanation of how steps could be taken and what
could result; the damage to local citizens and the potential
benefits. There are some here that promote dissolution or
expansion as a means to improve township government.
The dissolution of a layer of government is not a step that
should be taken lightly, but dissolution is a potential step
that should not be ignored and should be better understood.
In this opening piece we will abide by the words of Sir
Winston Churchill who said, “The further backward you
look, the further forward you are likely to see.” We will
look back to the Albany Congress in 1754 and move ahead
to understand why American government was designed and
implemented as a layered form of government.
To understand why American government was formed
with a number of levels we must move to when the idea
of an American nation was
more a whim than a reality.
The Albany Congress in
1754 was the first effort
by colonists to assemble
a system of governance.
The Albany Congress was
followed by the Articles
of Confederation and that
was an early document
that sought to define how
America would be created.
However both the Albany
Congress and the Articles
failed to create the nation that
the participants imagined.
The Albany Congress
was convened with
representatives of seven
of the 13 colonies. The
idea for the Congress came
from Benjamin Franklin’s
“Albany Plan.” That plan
proposed that a president
would be appointed by the
Crown and each colony
would send from 2 to 7
representatives to what
was described as a “Grand
Council.” The colonies
rejected these ideas in a fit
of jealousy and though the
ideas sustained, little of
substance occurred until
1777 when the Articles of
Confederation were drafted.
Both the Albany Plan and
the Articles proposed two
layers of government. The
upper layer being the federal
government and the lesser
layer allowed the sovereign
states to enact their own
law. Embodied in the later
Constitution, federal powers
were enumerated with the
states managing those duties
that were not enumerated as
federal powers.
As the nation was
being assembled further
subdivisions arose to provide
for local law that in Illinois
includes counties, townships
and municipalities. These
layers of local law operated
subservient to state and
federal law.
In Article II of the Articles the language had, “Each
state retains its sovereignty, freedom and independence
and every power, jurisdiction and right which is not by this
Confederation expressly delegated to the United States in
Congress assembled.”
Similar language was adopted in the Constitution
and later the 10th Amendment to the Constitution wrote,
“The powers not designated to the United States by the
Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states are reserved
for the states respectively, or to the people.”
But why would there be a separation between federal
and state government? The answer can be traced to John
Jay, Alexander Hamilton and James Madison who wrote
The Federalist Papers. Those documents were a series of
85 essays that promoted elements that would become the
Constitution. Hamilton wrote Federalist #17 that delineated
why there should be a separation between federal national
government and governments of the sovereign states.
Hamilton wrote, “Commerce, finance, negotiation and
war seem to comprehend all the objects which have charms
for minds governed by that passion and all the powers
necessary to those objects ought, in the first instance, to
be lodged in the national depository.” He advised that the
national government should regulate commerce, manage
the national finances, to negotiate treaties and to wage war.
Immediately following his statement of national authority,
Hamilton identified elements of state responsibility. “The
administration of private justice between the citizens of
the same state, the supervisor of agriculture and of similar
concerns of a similar nature, all of these things, in short,
which are proper to be provided by local legislation,
can never be desirable cares of the general jurisdiction.”
Hamilton recognized, because of an inherent closer contact
between state government and their citizens, there was the
risk that state governments might usurp federal powers.
Hamilton continued, “(a) man is more attached to his
family than to his neighborhood, to his neighborhood that
to the community at large, the people of each state would
be apt to feel a stronger bias towards their local government
than towards the government of the Union; unless the force
of that principle should be destroyed by a much better
administration of the latter.”
Such an example of these ideas occurred, arguably, as the
basis for the American Civil War that was a conflict between
those that proposed advancing state’s rights and those that
sought to defend the powers of the federal government.
The Emancipation Proclamation was, arguably, a document
asserting the civil rights of human beings, but it was also a
document that sought to diminish states rights as practiced
by the Confederate States of America.
In Federalist #39 James Madison detailed differences
between a federal and a national government. Madison
wrote that the readers must recognize the difference
between states maintaining their sovereignty as federal,
versus a union with direct control of the people which is a
national government.
Madison added, “A republic is a government that derives
all its powers directly or indirectly from the great body of
the people and is administered by persons holding their
office during pleasure for a limited period or during good
behavior.” Madison’s comparison of this definition to the
individual state constitutions shows that for the most part,
the states have a form of republican government.
It is that republican form of government that Madison
proclaimed would capture the essence of what these men
sought to create when he wrote, “Could any further proof
be required of the republican complexion of this system, the
most decisive one might be found in its absolute prohibition
of titles of nobility, both under the federal and the state
governments; and in its express guaranty of the republican
form to each of the latter.”
It was not until the publication of The Federalist Papers
that the verbal framework of the Constitution became a
living idea. By reading these essays the citizens came to
understand what the founders contemplated in the opening
paragraph of the Constitution, “We the people of the United
States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish
justice and to insure domestic tranquility, provide for the
common defense, promote the general welfare and secure
the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do
ordain and establish this constitution of the United States
of America.”
When those words were written, the authors were settled
that the nation would function under a broad separation of
governance between a federal rule of law and that which
would be enacted by the sovereign states.
The next part of this series examines township
government in Illinois and identifies the duties of townships
as mandated that are separate from duties of counties and
municipalities. The next piece will also discuss how
dissolution of individual governments can occur and has occurred many times in the history of the state.

There is even more on Township government and its history in today’s Boone County Journal which is available free of charge at merchants around the county and on the internet at:

BCJ: Letters to Editor regarding Belvidere Township


For a long time debate has swirled around why Belvidere
taxpayers continue to pay Belvidere Township Government
taxes. As a City of Belvidere resident, what has Belvidere
Township done for you lately or ever? I would say the
overwhelming majority of Belvidere taxpayers do not see
any benefits. And, the few that are provided could easily
be provided by the municipality or county with little or no
Belvidere Township royalty struggles to define their own
spending mission, as within a span of weeks they denied a
donation request for food for the needy, after attempting to
justify the purchase of rental property that shares parking
with adjacent business property owned by one of their own
trustees. All the while claiming to serve only Belvidere
Township! Enough already.
Bottom line, taxpayers struggle to pay taxes to the
city and county, while Belvidere Township is sitting on
$7,600,000.00 of the same city and county taxpayer’s
seemingly redundant tax dollars. Belvidere Township
does not plow or maintain city streets or sidewalks, nor do
they maintain water, sewer or any other city infrastructure.
Belvidere homeowners pay $357.00 annually (based on a
$100,000.00 home) to the city for all of these services and
according to the city administration, the same homeowner
pays nearly an additional $200.000 in taxes annually to the
Township, a donation for what?
How phony for the elected (so called) conservatives to
claim they are all about shrinking government as they hack
away at hard working teachers, public safety professionals
and other blue collar workers pay and benefits, yet some
(elected officials) continue to dip their snouts in the public
trough and refuse to acknowledge some government taxes
and sacred cows need to go. It is time elected officials
rationalize what they are doing, no matter who is receiving
a paycheck. And since Belvidere Township self servants
refuse to consider taxpayers then taxpayers need to consider
them. How ironic due to the poor economy Belvidere
schools potentially face a $7 million shortfall while the
Township sits on $7.6 million dollars in cash.
Late last year the City Council of Evanston, Illinois
expressed their concern for taxpayers and tax reform voting
to support placing on a referendum the question whether
voters wished to dissolve township government and
associated redundant taxation, potentially saving $700,000
per year. I happen to believe that Belvidere Township
Government specifically is both an unnecessary tax on city
residents and long outdated. However, more important than
my thoughts are what taxpayers and voters believe.
On 02/27/12 I asked the Belvidere City Council to
support a motion calling for an advisory referendum
question on whether or not the City of Belvidere should
pursue the issue of dissolving Belvidere Township granting
relief to City of Belvidere residents from duplicate taxation.
The Council supported the motion by a vote of 7-2.
Additionally, I have filed a request with Belvidere
Township to allow all voters residing in Belvidere Township
to vote on whether or not to dissolve Belvidere Township.
This yearly meeting will take place on April 10, 2012.
Attendance at this meeting is required to vote.
Either way, allowing the electorate to be heard is the
right thing to do. As (Mark) Twain said, “Do the right thing
if will please some people and astonish the rest.”

Clinton Morris
Belvidere Alderman Ward 1

Once again someone, this time Belvidere alderman Clint
Morris, wants to do away with township government without
knowing what township government is or does.
Does he believe that city residents never drive on township
roads? Many city residents use them daily to get to work, get
kids to school or in the performance of their jobs.
Does he believe property values on which city taxes are
based somehow magically appear, or are they the result of
professional tax assessors in the township assessor’s office?
He bemoans the fact that township funds have a healthy
balance while the city is using tax intended to fund city
infrastructure for daily operating expenses. Could it be
that the township is managing its funds better than the City
He derides the township for denying funds to one charitable
organization (the Boone County Food Pantry) and derides
them again for considering the purchase of a building for
another charitable organization (the Belvidere Family
YMCA). Mr. Morris, how can the township be wrong on
both counts.
Eliminating township government would result in one
less layer of government, but, rest assured, will not result in
lower tax bills, only larger, less efficient, more bureaucratic
Perhaps a better solution than dissolving Belvidere
Township would be to eliminate Belvidere City Council.

Maxwell H. Newport
Belvidere, IL 61008

The above Letters to the Editor are available in this week’s Boone County Journal which is available free of cost at  merchants across the county and on the internet at: