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The in box. Responding to Ty Fahner about the Constitutional Amendment.

October 23, 2012

Fred,

I received the following e-mails from a friend, and I wanted to know how YOU would respond to them. Thanks, Esther Allman

Below are two emails that I received in response to my sending out my own emails to all of my friends and family to vote NO against the amendment. What arguments can be used to respond to these type of messages? Or does mean that we are in a tough battle and the lines are drawn?
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there are many laws in Illinois that address individual issues.

There is no money. This is a step in the direction of controlling spending and is less “radical” then what has been done in many other states.
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Please vote YES to the Illinois Constitutional Amendment on November 6th ballot.

On November 6th, Illinois voters will vote on a proposal to amend the Illinois Constitution. This proposal would amend the Constitution to require a 3/5s majority vote of each chamber of the Illinois General Assembly, as well as the governing bodies of any unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system.

Tyrone Fahner is the former attorney general of Illinois and president of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago. He talked to Ward Room about why voters should approve Amendment 49, a which would change the Illinois constitution to require a three-fifths vote to increase pension benefits for public employees.
http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/Opinion-Why-You-Should-Vote-Yes-On-Amendment-49-174232021.html#ixzz2A7sa9wnK

- Esther

Esther,

Thanks for sending this.

It demonstrates most clearly why voters should defeat this amendment.Ty Fahner of the corporate Civic Committee answers your question himself in the interview:

Q: If we are able to make it more difficult to increase these pensions, how long will it be before we see any fiscal benefit?
A: I don’t know if we ever will.

The State of Illinois presently faces an $85 billion unfunded pension liability. The Constitutional Amendment does absolutely nothing to address the most serious financial issue confronting the state.

The goal of Ty Fahner and the Civic Committee is to privatize – to do away with – all public employee pensions. The fact that he admits that this amendment will do nothing to solve the unfunded pension liability, yet he wants it to pass, demonstrates that he sees it as a first step, a foot in the door, to doing away with pensions entirely.

The problem will not be solved by cutting or restricting benefits. The solution is to increase revenue: A graduated income tax and an end to corporate tax loopholes.

Requiring a 3/5ths super majority in Springfield and from local school boards to bargain local contracts is a recipe for labor turmoil in Illinois. And a pension debt that will continue to spiral out of control.

- Fred

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Ann Elizabeth permalink
    October 23, 2012 6:38 pm

    Fred: I just returned from the RTAC luncheon (the Chicago retired teachers association). I am an annutitant of both TRS and Chicago. You will be interested to know that Ken Huber (counterpart to Ingram of TRS) talked at length to the group about ways to fight the movement to undermine our pensions. He referred to the “crisis” as a crisis of revenue underfunding rather than a crisis of benefits. Mr. Ingram, on the other hand, claims he cannot express an opinion about TRS, because he is just an administrator. For years, Ken Huber has reported the facts to his membership and even predicted some of the tactics now being employed to lessen our pensions. Today he called for the membership to become “ambassadors” to the cause of protecting what we have earned. His position has always been one of advocacy for the pensioneers as the keeper and watchdog of the fund. By the way, Governor Quinn did not show up and did not send a representative (surpise, surprise). I think he was too busy finding ways to destroy public pensions in Illinois. One action strongly recommended by RTAC is to visit your representatives on a regular basis IN PERSON so that when they cast their votes your faces will be before them. Ann G.

    Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2012 23:03:08 +0000 To: artsofmexico48@hotmail.com

  2. Dave Burdell permalink
    October 23, 2012 11:35 pm

    Fred, you speak of raising revenues via taxes as if it doesn’t negatively effect anyone. My state taxes were just raised 67% and you think I should pay more? When I see comments like yours, it makes me want to get more involved to get this measure passed.

    You mentioned that the proposed amendment would disrupt or circumvent the democratic process. Public employee unions, to my knowledge, are the largest single contributor to Illinois political candidates. Who else gets to donate money to the people that determine their wages and benefits but public employees? The democratic process has been circumvented for years now…by public employees.

    • Fred Klonsky permalink*
      October 24, 2012 7:42 am

      Dave,
      Your Republican IPI talking points don’t fly here. Your income tax was raised 2% temporarily from 3% Those taxes were kept low by the legislature using money that was intended to meet the pension obligation and was spent on roads and bridges instead. I didn’t say you should pay more. I said there should be a graduated, progressive income tax. You are wrong about union political contributions as well. The largest PACs are individual PACs for the pharm, medical and health industries.

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