What is home rule?
Simply stated, home rule is a legal system for defining the powers which local government may exercise. Local governments have no inherent powers; their ability to take any action at all is dependent on a grant of power from the state in which they are located. Tradition-
ally, local governments may exercise only the powers explicitly given them by state statute.
Home rule gives an individual local government – a county, city, or village – the authority to determine for itself what powers it may exercise, subject, of course, to specified constitutional and statutory limitations.
Home rule, thus, is a system under which individual local governments are given a broad scope of authority to determine what powers they need, and what revenue sources they can tap, to provide the services demanded by their residents. The scope of the powers they may exercise, and the limitations to which they are subject, varies widely from state to state.
What are the arguments in favor of home rule?
Home rule is designed to give local voters, and the local officials they elect, more authority and control over the operation of their local government. It does this by freeing local governments from total dependence on the state legislature for the powers and authority needed to finance and provide public services to local communities. In short, home rule transfers power from state legislatures to city, village, and county governing boards, and to the voters who elect officials to those governing boards.
What are the arguments against home
Local opponents of home rule base most of their opposition to home rule powers on the fear that locally elected officials will abuse those powers, and especially the power to levy taxes. Other concerns sometimes voiced by students of government, but rarely mentioned during local campaigns for the adoption or removal of home rule powers, are listed in the full report here.
The Village President's thoughts on home rule...