Home Rule Debate Over

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On this day many observed Good Friday while others headed out of town, but one group in Rockford had a major change of plans.

The results of the March Primaries continue to affect some key decision makers. Empower Rockford decided Friday to stop the petition drive and delay any efforts to put home rule on the November ballot.

Empower Rockford cites that in “Today's political climate, the campaign for Home Rule would not be an easy one and that the coalitions strengths would be divided among other initiatives.”

It was possible that in November, voters might have had to make three major decisions. For sure we will all see a Rockford School District referendum. It's still up for debate if the one cent sales tax will reappear and now we know we won't see anything about Home Rule.

Many Rockford aldermen who voted against putting Home Rule on the March ballot agree that the timing is poor. Some aldermen say that the one cent sales tax failing was proof that the community isn't fully ready to trust city leaders.

Alderman Pat Curran says, “When that sales tax went down I sat back and thought about that and I said that this is the precursor to the Home Rule debate. If that goes down Home Rule will go down and I think they probably saw that to."

In a written release, Empower Rockford states that there are plans to readdress the issue in the future at the strategically appropriate time. Nobody from the group returned phone calls made by 23 News on Friday in order to learn more about when that time might be.

In 1983, Home Rule opponents said getting rid of Home Rule would be good for Rockford.