Thursday, October 18, 2012

Constitution Change a Secret

Changes to a constitution are a big deal.  Any proposed alteration to a constitution should be banner headlines, the lead story.  Not so in Illinois.

Imagine my surprise to go to my mailbox last week and discover the blue booklet that heralds a proposed amendment to the Illinois constitution.  I admit that I try to avoid the watching broadcast news during an election cycle but I do read the newspaper. This booklet was the first I'd heard about an amendment. I checked with several friends, several of whom are news junkies. They, too, were unaware of the amendment proposal.

I can only assume that the reason for the incredible lack of communication about this amendment is the subject matter.  Illinois is famous for its $83 billion in unfunded pensions. (The national problem is estimated to be over $1 trillion.)  The proposed amendment to the state constitution would require a super majority, 65%, to approve any increase in pension benefits. It is, at best, an effort to halt the practice of buying votes with benefits. At worst, it is a ruse.

Instead of facing the pension issue head-on and dealing with it, someone came up with this amendment idea.  It doesn't matter whether or not the amendment passes, the politicians can point to it and say they are working on the problem. This amendment, good or bad, is merely a ploy to avoid doing what needs to be done. 

I get the politics behind this measure. The boys in Springfield are saying a lot without uttering a word.  Again.

No comments: