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posted: 2/29/2012 5:00 AM

Yes to Itasca home rule

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The Daily Herald Editorial Board

Homeowners are right to feel suspicious when their village leaders ask to expand municipal power with home rule authority. It gives local governments all the powers not specifically reserved for other entities, including the ability to raise the sales tax rate, to reallocate tourism taxes and to raise property taxes without the limits set by the property tax cap. Itasca is heavily dependent on falling sales tax revenue, which has dropped to $4.4 million as overall income has fallen to about $9 million, down $2.8 million over three years. Projections are for revenues to hold steady as the new norm. Officials hope to use home rule authority to put unused hotel taxes to work repairing village roads and shoring up the village's savings while generating additional revenue by expanding the list of items subject to local sales tax. At the suggestion of residents and business owners, Itasca officials also are pledging to hold the village to the property tax cap rules, enacting an ordinance to be renewed annually. With this promise in place, residents should feel comfortable voting yes on Itasca's request for home rule authority.

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