November 04, 2005

Taxes and corruption.

Coming up this spring the city of Rockford, Illinois is going to look into possibly allowing Home Rule to return for our government. In Illinois if you have a municipality has a population over 25,000 they are automatically considered home rule, UNLESS a referendum is passed revoking that status. Rockford hasn’t had home rule since 1983.

What is home rule? Home rule can be best defined as placing at the local level the power to tax and to regulate with broad discretion any function pertaining to government and local affairs. Some of the items that local governments may regulate under home rule are: cigarette taxes, taxes on retail sales of new motor vehicles, parking taxes, reductions in mandatory fire and police retirement age, land dedications for schools and parks, zoning landfill sites, mobile home parks, low-income housing developments, and self-service gas. They also have the power to regulate health ordinances that conflict with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, noise regulations, branch banking regulations, and the disposition of unclaimed property, the reduction of officials’ salaries or discrimination based on personal appearance. In some of these areas, the state legislature may be able to delegate its power to local government, but without state action, home rule units cannot regulate in these areas.

They do not have the power to regulate, for public policy reasons, matters involving divorce and family law and real property. Trusts and contracts must be regulated by the state and cannot vary from one municipality to the next. That still gives a lot of power to local governments.

In this article about it in our local rag (It’s about as newsworthy as a high school newspaper); they list an example of one of the abuses of Home Rule in the Daley empire city of Chicago.

“Chicago in March 2003 when city construction crews, under the cover of darkness, tore up the runway at Meigs Field, effectively closing the lakefront airport. Who gave the crews the right to do so? Not the voting public. Not the Federal Aviation Administration. Certainly not the hundreds of pilots who flew in and out of the airport. The airport was closed for good on orders from Mayor Richard Daley.”

I remember when this happened. At a minute after midnight when the lease was up, Daley sent the bulldozers in and trashed the runway beyond repair. My corporate HQ is in Chicago and I know many a person that used that airport, to say they where unhappy about the situation is an understatement.

I don’t want to see something like this happening in Rockford. First, the city itself rarely if ever votes down a tax. Give the city the opportunity to raise taxes above the max that state law allows and I could see the vast idiots here actually voting into place a 25% tax increase to fix the roads. Then with all the eminent domain baloney going through the courts, I could see city planners use home rule to snag private property for some stupid “tourist” attraction that would be poorly located. Using the same logic, I can see them snagging peoples houses to make roads so it is more accessible.

At this time, I’m going to have to say I don’t want my local leaders to have that much power. I see the abuses in Chicago and some of the other surrounding communities and I don’t like it. Why would I want to subject myself to the same?

Posted by Contagion in Home Rule at November 4, 2005 12:55 PM | TrackBack




Charlotte has this disease, so people are flocking OUT of the city. They claim growth, but the only growth the city has is when they annex people who within 2 years quickly depart. The only people who now live in Charlotte are those who suck the government teat (including businesses) and those who have been transferred in by said businesses. Hardly anyone stays there any more because they mismanage EVERYTHING.

Posted by: Ogre at November 4, 2005 12:02 PM

There's always New Hampshire:

Posted by: Harvey at November 5, 2005 02:51 PM

No. Freakin'. Way.

Posted by: Wes at November 6, 2005 12:22 PM