Monday, October 15, 2012

Vote “No” on Amendment 49 by Addison Woodward


On November 6th voters are being asked to vote on an amendment to the Illinois Constitution. This Constitutional Amendment was proposed by Michael Madigan, and it purports to deal with the “pension crisis” in Illinois. It does nothing of the sort.

What it does do is to give unbridled power to the General Assembly, and it undermines Article XIII, Section 5 of the Illinois Constitution, known as the constitutional protection clause which makes earned pensions a contractual obligation of the state.

The amendment is some 800 words long, replete with complicated language and twisted concepts, which by themselves will lead to a myriad of lawsuits brought by various parties if ever applied as part of any bill passed by the General Assembly.

What the Amendment does not do is address the pension abuses permitted by the General Assembly, where favored friends such as lobbyists, former lawmakers, the Mayor of Chicago, union leaders, at least one University of Illinois administrator, and others who have had special laws passed so that their pensions are sweeter than what was earned. It does nothing about the special pension deals and end-of-career bonuses given school superintendents and other school administrators by school boards at the cost of district taxpayers.

This amendment also does not address the root cause of the “pension crisis,” and that is the decades-long underfunding permitted and abetted by the General Assembly as they balanced current costs for education, health and human services and the needs of other state agencies on the backs of future state retirees.

The Constitutional Amendment that is on the ballot deserves your “No” vote. It is a sham, a ruse, a cruel hoax being played on Illinois taxpayers by the master magician of Illinois politics. Vote “NO” on the Constitutional Amendment.

--Addison Woodward

 An edited version was printed in The Southtown Star:
http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/opinions/letters/15702701-474/forum-vote-no-on-amendment-49.html

House Joint Resolution Constitutional Amendment 49 Will Diminish Public Pensions: http://teacherpoetmusicianglenbrown.blogspot.com/2012/06/house-joint-resolution-constitutional.html

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