On the November Ballot, Illinois voters will be asked if they believe the Illinois Constitution should be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system. Please vote NO on the proposed Constitutional Amendment (HJRCA 49). This Constitutional Amendment would also require that any local collectively-bargained agreement be approved by a three-fifths majority if those agreements had incentives or additional compensation increases beyond salary.Reasons to VOTE NO:
ü It is mostly the legislators’ fault that the pension systems were poorly funded throughout the decades. That diverted pension money was used for other state services and legislators’ “pet” projects instead;ü The constitutional amendment will make public employees’ ability to fight for fair contracts much harder (Illinois Education Association, IEA);ü This constitutional amendment will limit the bargaining power of employers and employees (IEA);ü There is the possibility of disagreement on what constitutes a benefit increase” (Jesse White, Secretary of State). The COLA and other “earned” benefits will most likely be reinterpreted in this regard;ü This constitutional amendment would make it nearly impossible to remedy the Social Security issues with the passage of Senate Bill 1946 in April, 2010 (IEA). This is unfair to any new teachers hired after January 1, 2011;ü This constitutional amendment will make it harder to attract the best possible college candidates for the teaching profession (IEA);
ü This constitutional amendment “does not reduce the state’s pension systems’ current $83 billion unfunded liability” (caused primarily by the state’s legislators); “it fails to address the real fiscal issue caused by the state’s outsized pension debt—how to amortize the $83 billion debt owed to the pension systems” (Center for Tax and Budget Accountability);
ü Most significantly, as stated by the State Universities Annuitants Association (SUAA), this constitutional amendment “would grant unprecedented powers to government that will undermine protections contained in the pension protection clause [Article XIII, Section 5] and eliminate the uniform laws that now exist for [all] state employee benefits and obligations in the Illinois Pension Code” (Letter from SUAA, April 25, 2012);ü Note: if you do not vote at all, your absent vote will make it easier for a majority “Yes” vote.
The question on the November ballot will ask, “…If you believe the Illinois Constitution should not be amended to require a three-fifths majority vote in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system, you should vote NO… on the question. Three-fifths of those voting on the question or a majority of those voting in the election must vote “Yes” in order for the amendment to become effective on January 9, 2013.” Please join us in voting NO against the proposed constitutional amendment on the November ballot.Thank you from Dave Madsen, Glen Brown
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