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Articles, Viewpoints

Election Referendums in November (Resources)

In the upcoming November elections, there are two important referendums for residents in the BloNo area: electricity aggregation and an amendment to the Illinois Constitution. What follows is an opinion piece on both, reflecting the positions taken by progressive political groups and organizations in our city.

An upcoming informational meeting of the League of Women Voters on October 15th will provide information on both referendums to the public.

Electricity Aggregation – Vote Yes!

Residents in Normal, Heyworth, and Randolph Township will have the opportunity to vote for municipal electricity aggregation. With aggregation, municipal governments will arrange for the negotiation of electricity rates with suppliers, pooling residents as a consumer group and leveraging that power for lower rates.

People are free to choose if they want to participate in the consumer pool; those who do not wish to participate can opt-out. The added benefit of the measure is that wind power is increasingly more cost effective than dirty sources of energy, practically guaranteeing that participating communities can choose clean over dirty energy.
Resources:
Municipal Aggregation as American as Apple Pie, by Bill Rau
Letter to Editor by Anne McGowan
Letter to Editor by Dawn Dannenbring
Letter to Editor by Ruth Gnagey
Letter to the Editor by Jim Reid
Letter to Editor by Elsie Cadieux
Letter to Editor by Julie Prandi
Letter to Editor by Maria Schmeeckle
Letter to Editor by Carolyn Treadway
Information Lack on Municipal Aggregation by Jan Cox
Municipal Aggregation is Working, by Bill Rau

Constitution Amendment 49 (Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution) – Vote No!

Constitution Amendment 49 makes it more difficult to increase pension benefits for state workers, requiring a 3/5 majority for any increase.

As written, the amendment requires “a three-fifths majority vote of each chamber of the General Assembly, or the governing body of a unit of local government, school district, or pension or retirement system, in order to increase a benefit under any public pension or retirement system.” Currently, a 50% majority vote is necessary.

Sponsored by 6 Illinois Democrats, this is a measure promoted by the forces of austerity who blame workers and their earned pensions for the state’s fiscal crisis. Illinois politicians, after having treated the state pension system as their own piggy bank, now want to balance the budget on the backs of public sector workers. But they face a huge constitutional hurdle, namely that pension benefits for state and local workers should not be “diminished or impaired.” According to the Gazette – a Chicago monthly – Constitutional Amendment 49 makes it easier for politicians to claim constitutionality in eventually reducing pension benefits. Its immediate effect is to reduce the bargaining power of unions covering state employees.
Resources:
Consitutional Amendment 49 a ‘catastrophic attack on public workers (Gazette, October 5, 2012)
Constitutional Amendment 49 is 700 Dirty Little Words. You Only Need to Know One: No, by Fred Klonsky

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Discussion

One thought on “Election Referendums in November (Resources)

  1. Excellent post Corey. Thank you, thank you. It will really help to get out the word.

    Can we get a blog post on the exact language in the referendum? It has a lot of us concerned because the referendum never mentions aggregation. The wording is a bit obtuse and may confuse people.

    Cheers!

    Bill

    P.S. I can send you the exact wording in the referendum as can Anne McGowan

    Posted by Bill Rau | October 12, 2012, 6:57 pm
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