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41 - 60 of 99 Comments Last updated Jan 12, 2013
Maria

North Salem, IN

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#41
Nov 15, 2012
 
stop the waste wrote:
<quoted text>
The above statement explains it all. This is why the Mayor and his friends were demanding Home Rule.
Alderman Potaska was the Mayors sidekick, spearheading Home Rule. Vote this loser out!!
Follow the Money

Chicago, IL

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#42
Nov 15, 2012
 
stop the waste wrote:
<quoted text>
The above statement explains it all. This is why the Mayor and his friends were demanding Home Rule.
Had it passed, Home Rule could have supplied an endless source of money to feed the coalition/progressive party and it's supporters.
jobs for votes

Alsip, IL

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#43
Nov 15, 2012
 
Maria wrote:
<quoted text>
Alderman Potaska was the Mayors sidekick, spearheading Home Rule. Vote this loser out!!
Do not forget Joe Gatrell lying his ass off on the City propaganda network.
Debt Ridden

Chicago, IL

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#44
Dec 11, 2012
 

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Get the Facts wrote:
<quoted text>
Please research home rule, because you obviously do not have the facts, and look at home rule communities and see how home rule works.(Cal Park, Robbins, Harvey, Alsip, Markham, Country Club Hills, and Chicago have home rule) Are they crime free? Are they debt free?
All of these communities are debt ridden and seeking new sources of revenue.
Ble Island taxpayers can not afford any new taxes.
In the event the home rule referendum appears on the April 9, 2013 ballot, Vote No!
No More Taxes

Chicago, IL

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#46
Dec 13, 2012
 
Debt Ridden wrote:
<quoted text>
All of these communities are debt ridden and seeking new sources of revenue.
Blue Island taxpayers can not afford any new taxes.
In the event the home rule referendum appears on the April 9, 2013 ballot, Vote No!
Referendum #2 Home Rule is scheduled for discussion 1/2/13 @6pm.
Blue Island has enough outstanding debt, a huge 2013 municipal tax levy, and taxpayers can not afford any more new taxes.
If Home Rule (Burt Odelson's law firm prepared the Home Rule referendum at a cost of $185.00 per hour) appears on the April 9, 2013 ballot, Voters will need to "Vote No" again.
Not Voting For Vargas

Blue Island, IL

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#47
Dec 13, 2012
 
No More Taxes wrote:
<quoted text>
Referendum #2 Home Rule is scheduled for discussion 1/2/13 @6pm.
Blue Island has enough outstanding debt, a huge 2013 municipal tax levy, and taxpayers can not afford any more new taxes.
If Home Rule (Burt Odelson's law firm prepared the Home Rule referendum at a cost of $185.00 per hour) appears on the April 9, 2013 ballot, Voters will need to "Vote No" again.
The next administration would be asking for HOME RULE so why not put it on the ballaot one last time?
It Is What It Is

United States

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#48
Dec 13, 2012
 
happy in BI wrote:
Don,
The reason home rule failed is because the voters saw it for what it was: A scheme by your administration to pick their pockets. This referendum had nothing to do with "crime free housing" or "self determination" or even the efforts of Carmine Bilotto.
It had everything to do with you wanting to raise taxes without the consent of the voters and the people of BI seeing right through it.
In today's SouthTown Star:
BY STEVE METSCH
Blue Island Mayor Don Peloquin sighed deeply when asked about Tuesday's election returns.
"We got killed," he said.
City officials had placed a referendum question on the ballot seeking home rule powers, but it was soundly defeated. Residents voted against the measure 3,050 to 1,328, according to unofficial totals from the Cook County clerk's office.
Home rule allows municipalities a broader range of powers, such as being able to sell bonds or increase taxes without voters' approval. It could have been a vehicle to create extra income for the city, the mayor said.
"It's back to Square One. We'll keep plugging along, keep looking at other ways to do things," Peloquin said.
At this point, he's not sure how the city will find the money it needs.
Tardy payments of tax money from the state and county have not helped, but Peloquin said the city will meet its payroll. Last month, the city had to arrange to short all employees' paychecks by 50 percent for one payroll period and promise to cover the shortage by the end of the year.
Peloquin hopes a South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association plan to help communities borrow money at low interest rates will offer help soon.
When Blue Island last sought to gain home rule powers, in 2005, it lost by a much smaller margin: about 300 votes.
In hindsight, Peloquin said the city perhaps should have worked harder this time.
"It's a situation of we didn't put the effort in we should have to educate the people, but even if we had, with what's going on (Tuesday) throughout the country ... " Peloquin said. "The margin (of defeat) surprised me at first, but now, as I look at what's going on, I'm not surprised any more. There's just mass negativity out there."
Communities need home rule, he said, "to control their own destiny."
He was not pleased to see anti-home rule literature being distributed Tuesday by some opponents. Peloquin said city Treasurer Carmine Bilotto campaigned against home rule, a charge strongly denied by Bilotto on Wednesday.
"I was standing in front of my precinct. I've been a Democratic captain for 25 or 30 years, and people asked my opinion.'Hey, Carm, what do you think?' I never told anyone how to vote. That's a personal thing," Bilotto said. "It's up to the person. I may have my own personal thing, but I sit (in city government) with Mr. Peloquin, I ran (for election) with Mr. Peloquin."
However, Bilotto said, "Home rule won't solve everything," noting other cities with home rule need financial assistance.
"What I'm hoping for is the state and county to open their eyes and pay the money they owe the city," he said.
Home Rule on the ballot is a great idea because; it will identify the candidates for office in the April 2012 election who support home rule.
It Is What It Is

United States

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#49
Dec 13, 2012
 
happy in BI wrote:
Don,
The reason home rule failed is because the voters saw it for what it was: A scheme by your administration to pick their pockets. This referendum had nothing to do with "crime free housing" or "self determination" or even the efforts of Carmine Bilotto.
It had everything to do with you wanting to raise taxes without the consent of the voters and the people of BI seeing right through it.
In today's SouthTown Star:
BY STEVE METSCH
Blue Island Mayor Don Peloquin sighed deeply when asked about Tuesday's election returns.
"We got killed," he said.
City officials had placed a referendum question on the ballot seeking home rule powers, but it was soundly defeated. Residents voted against the measure 3,050 to 1,328, according to unofficial totals from the Cook County clerk's office.
Home rule allows municipalities a broader range of powers, such as being able to sell bonds or increase taxes without voters' approval. It could have been a vehicle to create extra income for the city, the mayor said.
"It's back to Square One. We'll keep plugging along, keep looking at other ways to do things," Peloquin said.
At this point, he's not sure how the city will find the money it needs.
Tardy payments of tax money from the state and county have not helped, but Peloquin said the city will meet its payroll. Last month, the city had to arrange to short all employees' paychecks by 50 percent for one payroll period and promise to cover the shortage by the end of the year.
Peloquin hopes a South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association plan to help communities borrow money at low interest rates will offer help soon.
When Blue Island last sought to gain home rule powers, in 2005, it lost by a much smaller margin: about 300 votes.
In hindsight, Peloquin said the city perhaps should have worked harder this time.
"It's a situation of we didn't put the effort in we should have to educate the people, but even if we had, with what's going on (Tuesday) throughout the country ... " Peloquin said. "The margin (of defeat) surprised me at first, but now, as I look at what's going on, I'm not surprised any more. There's just mass negativity out there."
Communities need home rule, he said, "to control their own destiny."
He was not pleased to see anti-home rule literature being distributed Tuesday by some opponents. Peloquin said city Treasurer Carmine Bilotto campaigned against home rule, a charge strongly denied by Bilotto on Wednesday.
"I was standing in front of my precinct. I've been a Democratic captain for 25 or 30 years, and people asked my opinion.'Hey, Carm, what do you think?' I never told anyone how to vote. That's a personal thing," Bilotto said. "It's up to the person. I may have my own personal thing, but I sit (in city government) with Mr. Peloquin, I ran (for election) with Mr. Peloquin."
However, Bilotto said, "Home rule won't solve everything," noting other cities with home rule need financial assistance.
"What I'm hoping for is the state and county to open their eyes and pay the money they owe the city," he said.
Home Rule on the ballot is a great idea because; it will identify the candidates for office in the April 2013, election who support home rule.
Home Rule Repealed

Chicago, IL

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#50
Jan 2, 2013
 
Alan wrote:
Home rule repealed in Westmont, rejected in 4 other communities
11/13/2012
Brian Costin
Director of Government Reform
Many local voters didn’t realize it, but residents of Westmont, Ill., made history during last week’s election.
By a vote of 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent, Westmont became the first Illinois community to repeal a municipality’s home rule power in 29 years. The last repeal happened in Rockford in 1983.
Westmont automatically became a home rule community after a special census in 2007 showed Westmont had more than 25,000 residents. State law automatically grants home rule powers to communities with a population of more than 25,000.
The subsequent 2010 census showed that the village fell short of the 25,000 population mark, triggering an automatic home rule referendum according to state law.
Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA), has been fighting home rule in Illinois for decades. Tobin calls home rule “one of the most financially devastating schemes Illinois politicians have ever come up with.”
“Home rule means, literally, home rule unlimited taxing power,” Tobin said.“A home rule municipality can create just about any tax under the sun and raise taxes without limit.”
TUA assisted a group called Citizens for Westmont to work for elimination of the village’s home rule power in the referendum battle.
Enactment of home rule powers is often shortly followed by increases to sales, utility or property tax rates. Communities often borrow against future home rule revenues to finance big projects.
The recent November election had voters in nine communities in Illinois voting on home rule referendums. Home rule was defeated in five of those communities and approved in four others.
Illinois communities that rejected or repealed home rule
Elkville
Harrisburg
Kenilworth
River Forest
Westmont (population fell below 25,000)
Illinois communities that retained home rule
Edwardsville (population fell below 25,000)
Homer Glen (population fell below 25,000)
Maywood (population fell below 25,000)
Mt. Vernon (population fell below 25,000)
Smart Voters!
From the Tribune

Chicago, IL

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#51
Jan 2, 2013
 
Page 3 of 4 Towns borrow, you pay Unlike many states, Illinois lets even the smallest cities and villages take massive gambles with millions in loans -- leaving taxpayers on the hook 9/9/12 Joe Mahr and Joseph Ryan, Chicago Tribune reporters The real estate market downturn wiped out large chunks of Bellwood's investment in the numerous properties, and most are still owned by the suburb. For the few properties that have been sold, the suburb has already locked in nearly $4 million in losses. Millions more in property is set to go to developers for free under current agreements. Another $4 million was spent on the camera system the village has since said was so error-prone that it failed to capture images of crimes, incidents or accidents, prompting the village to sue the camera contractor. Village leaders have declined to tell the Tribune if the cameras have been fixed.
Other than the tax drain, there have been few outward hints of the heavy losses — or the mounting debt.
The figures are contained in routine, annual reports sent to the state comptroller and buried deep in the state website. Nobody in state government has been required to point out or question why Bellwood's debt rate and tax bills have skyrocketed. In Illinois, that job is left solely to voters. If residents had been able to keep close tabs, they could have computed figures that now make national experts gasp. In 2000, the town's general obligation debt — the IOUs for taxpayers — was about 3 percent of Bellwood's equalized assessed property values. That has been typical of most Chicago suburbs. But the debt rate doubled in just two years, then roughly doubled again by 2005 and doubled again by 2006. Now, a plummeting tax base has boosted Bellwood's rate even higher — to 38 percent. That's four times the debt rate Illinois permits for towns without home rule.
No limits
Michael Belsky has seen Illinois' loose system of borrowing from both sides, as a full-time municipal finance adviser and a former mayor of Highland Park. He said the current setup, at its worst, leaves officials with dangerously unchecked power. "If someone doesn't use it with discretion," he said, "they've got a blank check."
The vast majority of states — including all of the largest ones — do not offer municipalities such blank checks.
Ken Small of the Florida League of Cities said he would worry if his state had Illinois' loose rules.
"It is like giving your teenager a credit card," he said.
In Illinois' home-rule municipalities, the onus is on voters to decipher the financial ramifications of what their local officials are doing. And even then, residents may only get a say come election time, and only if their local officials face competition on the ballot.
With no limits, some suburbs have dug themselves further into debt with what can be shaky plans for economic development.
Among them:
•Officials in south suburban Markham raised sales and property taxes while borrowing $20 million mostly to buy a roller rink and build a senior apartment building — the latter named after the mayor.
•Northlake borrowed $14.5 million to build a 60-unit condo building that opened in 2009. The town cut prices and even helped finance mortgages, but about 20 units remain unsold.
•Country Club Hills built an amphitheater that doesn't make enough to cover debt payments and typically loses $300,000 to $1 million a year, depending on what expenses are counted.
Some suburbs with lower debt rates also have taken big borrowing gambles without going directly to voters for approval. Bolingbrook built a golf course and plush clubhouse. Hoffman Estates tied taxpayers to a sports arena. And Schaumburg built a $240 million hotel and convention center. All those ventures have struggled at times.
In suburbs with big budgets and big tax bases, losses on such projects may not devastate the bottom line. But in smaller or poorer suburbs, bad gambles eat up bigger chunks of the budget and leave little choice but to boost taxes.
Southtown Editorial

Chicago, IL

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#52
Jan 2, 2013
 


Home rule limits needed
SouthtownStar editorial September 27,2012

Property owners in Illinois are fed up, increasingly angered by rising tax bills, but many feel powerless to do anything about it. How to stop local government
officials from playing us for saps by raising tax levies, and as a result also our bills, and making it tougher for people to stay in their homes?

There’s no easy answer, but we see a glimmer of hope. We strongly support, and you should too, efforts by state Treasurer Judy Baar Topinka and Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas to force towns to go on a fiscal diet and expose those that are suffocating their citizenry under crushing debt.

Last spring, Pappas and watchdog groups revealed how levies rose among the county’s taxing districts at double the rate of inflation from 2000 to 2010. And she led a charge to require the districts to reveal their debt
levels.

Now, Topinka is carrying that torch on the state level. She wants all towns to submit more financial information to her office, which will post it on a new website. She also wants hearings on changing Illinois’ liberal municipal-borrowing rules to restrict local officials from opening the money spigot so easily.

All of the most populous states (except guess who?) restrict how much debt towns can take on or insist that voters OK the borrowing. Illinois did both until 1970 when “home rule authority” was created, giving municipalities extra powers to establish laws and impose taxes. Towns with at least 25,000 residents automatically have home rule; smaller ones need voter approval for it.

Under home rule, towns have no borrowing limits and don’t need voters to agree to incur greater debt. Such local control is a nice concept but often hasn’t worked well and has been a disaster for some towns (such as Country Club Hills and Bridgeview).

Major reform is very difficult in Illinois, and expect a battle royal if a bill to restrict home rule gets before the Legislature. Municipal groups would lobby hard to prevent that. But an army of disgusted taxpayers pressuring lawmakers might give it a chance.

Idealistic? Maybe, but home rule authority, as it is, must go. If not, you may be gone from your home.
Home Rule

Chicago, IL

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#53
Jan 2, 2013
 

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Absolutely No Politician or Government Agency should be granted the Power to Automatically Raise Taxes without the Consent of the People.
Look at home rule communities and see how exploding home rule taxes work.(Calumet Park, Robbins, Harvey, Alsip, Markham, Midlothian, Country Club Hills, Bridgeview, and Chicago have home rule)
Are any of those communities crime free or debt free?
Down Right Dangerous

Chicago, IL

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#54
Jan 2, 2013
 
Michael Belsky has seen Illinois' loose system of borrowing from both sides, as a full-time municipal finance adviser and a former mayor of Highland Park. He said the current setup, at its worst, leaves officials with dangerously unchecked power. "If someone doesn't use it with discretion," he said, "they've got a blank check."
The vast majority of states — including all of the largest ones — do not offer municipalities such blank checks.
Ken Small of the Florida League of Cities said he would worry if his state had Illinois' loose rules.
"It is like giving your teenager a credit card," he said.
In Illinois' home-rule municipalities, the onus is on voters to decipher the financial ramifications of what their local officials are doing. And even then, residents may only get a say come election time, and only if their local officials face competition on the ballot.
With no limits, some suburbs have dug themselves further into debt with what can be shaky plans for economic development.
Among them:
•Officials in south suburban Markham raised sales and property taxes while borrowing $20 million mostly to buy a roller rink and build a senior apartment building — the latter named after the mayor.
•Northlake borrowed $14.5 million to build a 60-unit condo building that opened in 2009. The town cut prices and even helped finance mortgages, but about 20 units remain unsold.
•Country Club Hills built an amphitheater that doesn't make enough to cover debt payments and typically loses $300,000 to $1 million a year, depending on what expenses are counted.
Some suburbs with lower debt rates also have taken big borrowing gambles without going directly to voters for approval. Bolingbrook built a golf course and plush clubhouse. Hoffman Estates tied taxpayers to a sports arena. And Schaumburg built a $240 million hotel and convention center. All those ventures have struggled at times.
In suburbs with big budgets and big tax bases, losses on such projects may not devastate the bottom line. But in smaller or poorer suburbs, bad gambles eat up bigger chunks of the budget and leave little choice but to boost taxes.
Great Information

Chicago, IL

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#55
Jan 2, 2013
 

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Thanks for posting all the great information!
Home Rule Made History

Chicago, IL

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#56
Jan 2, 2013
 
Home rule repealed in Westmont, rejected in 4 other communities
11/13/2012
Brian Costin
Director of Government Reform
Many local voters didn’t realize it, but residents of Westmont, Ill., made history during last week’s election.
By a vote of 51.5 percent to 48.5 percent, Westmont became the first Illinois community to repeal a municipality’s home rule power in 29 years. The last repeal happened in Rockford in 1983.
Westmont automatically became a home rule community after a special census in 2007 showed Westmont had more than 25,000 residents. State law automatically grants home rule powers to communities with a population of more than 25,000.
The subsequent 2010 census showed that the village fell short of the 25,000 population mark, triggering an automatic home rule referendum according to state law.
Jim Tobin, president of Taxpayers United of America (TUA), has been fighting home rule in Illinois for decades. Tobin calls home rule “one of the most financially devastating schemes Illinois politicians have ever come up with.”
“Home rule means, literally, home rule unlimited taxing power,” Tobin said.“A home rule municipality can create just about any tax under the sun and raise taxes without limit.”
TUA assisted a group called Citizens for Westmont to work for elimination of the village’s home rule power in the referendum battle.
Enactment of home rule powers is often shortly followed by increases to sales, utility or property tax rates. Communities often borrow against future home rule revenues to finance big projects.
The recent November election had voters in nine communities in Illinois voting on home rule referendums. Home rule was defeated in five of those communities and approved in four others.
Illinois communities that rejected or repealed home rule
Elkville
Harrisburg
Kenilworth
River Forest
Westmont (population fell below 25,000)
Illinois communities that retained home rule
Edwardsville (population fell below 25,000)
Homer Glen (population fell below 25,000)
Maywood (population fell below 25,000)
Mt. Vernon (population fell below 25,000)
No to higher taxes

Midlothian, IL

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#57
Jan 3, 2013
 
Home Rule wrote:
Absolutely No Politician or Government Agency should be granted the Power to Automatically Raise Taxes without the Consent of the People.
Look at home rule communities and see how exploding home rule taxes work.(Calumet Park, Robbins, Harvey, Alsip, Markham, Midlothian, Country Club Hills, Bridgeview, and Chicago have home rule)
Are any of those communities crime free or debt free?
Thank God for the Intelligent voters who overwhelmingly said NO to Home Rule. And the kind, considerate people who worked to stop Home Rule.
Illinois Home Rule Law

Chicago, IL

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#58
Jan 3, 2013
 
Still don't get it, home rule authority, as it is, in Illinois must go. If not, you may very well be gone from your home.
Still Need Help

Chicago, IL

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#59
Jan 3, 2013
 
http://www.bettergov.org/

Follow the link to the Better Government Association.
Start doing your own research, become a more informed voter, leader, or elected official.
Simply

Chicago, IL

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#60
Jan 3, 2013
 
Blue Island elected officials failed you once again, on the most important issue they face: saving the municipality from financial disaster.

You should expect the same clever responses from our elected officials:

"It was the mayor". 
"We're working hard".
"The issues are complicated."
"Vote for Home Rule", Vote for Jawa".

Financial ruin IS just around the corner in the event Home Rule and Jawa pass on the Blue Island referendum ballot April 9, 2013.
Yes, it can get even worse, Home Rule, Jawa, spending, debt, and the unfunded municipal pensions  CAN  TAX  YOU, right out of your home.
Referendum Question

Chicago, IL

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#61
Jan 3, 2013
 
Shall the City of Blue Island become a home rule unit of government? Yes -- No

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