Like many mid-size American cities, Rockford has its fair share of challenges. We’re faced with high crime, an undereducated workforce, excessive property taxes and a slower-than-normal economic recovery following the 2008 recession.
In 1983, voters eliminated home rule as a tool of local government, concerned they were being overtaxed. What’s happened since then? The operating property tax levy has risen 185 percent, putting an unfair burden on property owners to shoulder the burden of city services. In Illinois, most communities that compare to Rockford have visitors and tourists help pay for programs and services—including police, fire and public works—that benefit residents. We must do the same and ease the financial pressure on property owners.
Partisan gridlock in Springfield has brought our great state nearly to its knees and had a negative impact on Rockford as well. Without home rule, Rockford only has the power to move forward using tools that the General Assembly gives us. With home rule, we hold the control of our future in our own hands.
A YES vote on March 20 will return to our great city the control our residents deserve.