The horse has bolted the barn, the damage is done, there's no going back now, we've reached the point of no return. Pick your cliche, it all boils down to the same conclusion: Voters should say "no thanks" to amending the Illinois Constitution to raise the legislative approval threshold for public pension increases, which is nothing more than a charade disguised as reform, pretending to be the solution it isn't.
Fundamentally, the amendment would require a three-fifths vote of the Legislature or any local governing body to enhance pension benefits, as opposed to the simple majority support that is required now. No doubt many a voter who has watched Illinois bungle its pension obligations will think that sounds like a pretty good idea. Don't fall for it.
First, this will do nothing at all to whittle the largest unfunded pension liability from sea to shining sea, at least $83 billion and counting. It merely addresses future pension sweeteners. Arguably only a legislator with a political death wish would sponsor legislation boosting retirement benefits now.
Second, this amendment wouldn't have prevented the meltdown that Illinois currently faces, as the vast majority of pension bills over the last several decades prevailed with lopsided majorities, sailing past 60 percent with barely a wave.
Third, beware the fine print. The full text of the abysmally written and probably purposely indecipherable amendment - leave it to the lawyers - will not appear on the ballot, so this is the equivalent of signing a contract you haven't read. Meanwhile, the amendment seeks to redefine such terms as "emolument increase" and "beneficial determination." If you're like 99 percent of the population, you just asked, "Huh?" Nobody of good intention would play such semantic games. It's a virtual invitation to legal challenge and even greater expenditures of your tax money. You know a measure is flawed when liberal labor groups and some conservative organizations alike oppose it, if for different reasons, while sharing an uncertainty over what exactly will be wrought. The Illinois Policy Institute labeled this effort "fake, do-nothing reform."