To Make History or Become History, That is the Question-Rockford's Gettysburg Address

It is not often that a single choice can allow a city to effect history.  It is not often that a city can fundamentally change the way all cities are funded.  It is not often that a simple slight change of course could not only alter the way government works but prove an old adage true.  That a rising tide raises all boats and Rockford, IL has an opportunity to make history and forever be remembered as the city that changes the course of human events.

It should not come as any surprise to those who are truly paying attention, the  old way of funding government has ran its course.  It was first thought that an idea of funding from the top down was ideal but that soon failed because of the logistics and the true lack of willingness by those at the top.  Some refer to this method as “trickle-down” economics and even though there are still those who think that if we keep trying it, it will work.  There are many that know better.

The other option was to reduce expenses without increasing revenue.  This was seen as the best and brightest idea.  Every city embraced this concept and now it reigns as the one and only way to get a city in balance.  The issue then became after having nothing else to cut, how balance would be maintained because the cost of doing business did not remain constant and kept increasing year after year.  It soon became apparent that an increase in the cost charged by those primarily responsible for making a city run was unavoidable.  Leaders began a campaign to convince this unwilling but captive audiences of the necessity for the increase and slowly but surely they conformed. 

What we found on the other side of that ledger was a quickly approaching dead-end that no one wanted to admit was coming.  A dead end where those paying to fund a city would be taxed enough and so much that their very existence would be threaten if asked to donate even a few dollars more.  These donors had already cut back to the point that not even their basic needs were being met and yet they survived.  This dead end is even more pronounced now than ever because Rockford stands at close to five million dollars in debt with no relief in sight except to require those strapped too much right now, to sacrifice even more.  Some leaders have reverted back to playing the old shell game where money is moved from one location to another, basically writing checks that they know will someday bounce.  For a plain citizen, writing checks you know will one day bounce could be a prison term but for a city it can only mean a death sentence.

Rockford has a choice.  The choice is whether to make history and forever be known as the city that saved a nation or continue to follow the same path it has been for the last twelve years.  We have an opportunity to introduce to the world a new way to fund a city where those often times left out, ignored or dismiss but are those same ones called upon to come to that city’s rescue each and every time, will again be the saviors of the city but in return instead of getting impelled they get applauded.  Instead of feeling used, they feel appreciated and instead of being brushed aside once the tragedy has passed, they are hailed as heroes for as long as they live.  The citizens finally are welcomed to share not just in a city in despair but a city in repair.  The citizens are finally able to claim their rightful place at the head of the table once forbidden to them to sit.  These citizens will finally be able to share in the spoils and reap the rewards of their labor.


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