Jack Roeser Blog

Thoughts, views, and observations forged during a long, active life, 83 years, by Jack Roeser- inventor, engineer, manufacturer, soldier, racing sailor, pilot, entrepreneur, classical liberal (conservative) activist, father and husband, and proud American.

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Jack Roeser is Chairman and founder of Otto Engineering Inc. a manufacturer of electronic control and communication switches for aerospace, medical and industrial uses. Otto’s success is marked by the high precision and quality of its products. Jack has received over 50 patents in Electrical, Mechanical, Machinery and Marine products. In 1994, he ran for Governor in the Republican primary, receiving 26% of the primary vote. For over 25 years, Jack has been an advocate of education reform through the application of free market principles and of school choice. Jack's sport is sailing; he has won the Chicago - Mackinac race among many others.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007


Tax-eaters are always coming up with ways to deflect attention from their indefensible positions and tactics. One such ploy is to attempt to disqualify anyone from speaking up on a referendum issue unless they live in that district. The Champion has often been told to “stay out of our business” when we shed some light on the facts about a local public school district’s finances and school performance.

Again, the real issues presented are ignored. But the argument that you are not affected by a school district’s actions unless you live there is nothing more than a smokescreen attempt to silence rational objections.

First of all, school districts commonly use a “ratcheting” ploy to compare themselves with other districts, stating that they need to increase their own salaries “to remain competitive.” Secondly, funding for public schools comes not just from local taxpayers, but from state and federal taxes as well. We all have an interest in ALL public schools.

Most significantly, the salaries that school boards agree to with their local teachers unions are the basis by which pensions for retiring teachers are calculated. Those pensions are not paid by local taxpayers alone, but become the burden of the state’s general revenue fund. That means, ALL Illinois taxpayers are committed by one local school board to pay pensions for retiring teachers from that district. It is therefore EVERY Illinois taxpayer’s business what goes on in all school districts in this state.

Currently, there is a big push, with a lot of financial and political backing from the teachers unions, for a “tax swap” to increase school funding, this with no debate at all about whether schools need more funding or if there is a better way to deliver education to our kids. This is more correctly called a “tax swindle” that would give a non-guaranteed promise of property tax relief for an unspecified time in exchange for a permanent increase in state taxes for every taxpayer in Illinois of 67%, plus new state taxes on such services as movie tickets, hair salons, parking, and more. This would hit every Illinois taxpayer with the intent of squeezing yet another $1.6 billion for the public school system. Where would that money come from? From EVERY taxpayer in this state!

Attempting to silence an opponent of the tax-eater mentality should be recognized as a cheap-shot effort to shift the focus from the real issues about education- astronomical, ever-increasing costs, lower academic standards and student achievement, and increasingly controversial curricular focus on non-academic, politically driven issues often at odds with parents’ wishes.

Public schools from Chicago’s inner-city to rural downstate are OUR schools. They exist not to provide well-paying jobs for teachers, but to educate our kids. Our allegiance belongs to those kids, not to the tax-eaters that have commandeered the system for their personal enrichment.

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