New ballot item: public pensions

By Anna Yee

New ballot item: public pensions

October 16, 2012 Updated Oct 17, 2012 at 2:59 PM CDT

NORMAL, Ill -- Even if you still have not decided who you're going to vote for in the November election, Illinois voters will see one item on the ballot that has been recently added.

That item is a proposed constitutional amendment about pension and retirement benefit increases.

Illinois State University Political Professor Emeritus Robert Bradley says the proposal does nothing to address the state's public pension problem.

He called the item "a knee-jerk reaction" to stories about people who scammed the pension benefit system.

The proposal will require a three-fifths "super majority" vote from the General Assembly to pass any law raising public pension benefits, but Bradley said a constitutional amendment isn't needed and that the proposal is very poorly written.

"The last paragraph of this is so poorly phrased," said Bradley, "that if a student if it had been turned into me by a student, I would have turned it back to them and said, 'You need to re-write this in something that I can understand.'"

Bradley says choosing not to vote on the pension benefits proposal could make it easier to pass it, since only marked ballots will be counted.

For more information on the pension and retirement benefit increases proposal, visit http://www.cyberdriveillinois.com/publications/con_amend/ca_english.pdf or visit the link above.

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