Anthony Travis

Anthony Travis

“When I look at Article 1, Section 25 – or Amendment 1, which would be the new language placed in the constitution – I cannot understand why a legislator would give up their power and authority to regulate labor policy and any policy passed in the state. If Amendment 1 passes, they cease to have the power to fix anything that needs to be addressed.”

“I’m originally from the West Side of Chicago, and I am pro-union. I come from a union family. My mother, my brother and I were all union stewards. My father was also a union member. I spent 29 years at Comcast, and I was a union steward twice for IBEW Local 21. I was also a unionized worker under SEIU.”

“I believe workers’ rights need to be protected, but labor policy belongs in the law, not the constitution. And Amendment 1 is not in the best interests of union members or taxpayers.”

“In 2020, Rep. Mary Flowers ask me to sit on her subcommittee for the governor’s task force on property tax relief. Instead of getting relief, we got a tax increase.”

“On Rep. Flowers’ subcommittee, legislators from both sides of the aisle were engaged in the process. We hosted legislative hearings on property taxes throughout the state: Matteson, Coles County, Aurora, up north at Truman College, on the West Side at Austin Town Hall and on the South Side at St. Luke’s Missionary Baptist Church. We heard testimony on how high property taxes are hurting Illinois families, talked about the inequities in the property tax system and how to implement property tax relief.”

“Our committee and the governor’s task force each issued reports identifying solutions to address Illinois’ property tax debacle. Our report focused on the three words that the governor stated in his 2020 State of the State address: ‘Consolidation, liquidation and reform’ of the 7,000 units of government that cost us $30 billion in property taxes every year.”

“And yet nothing was ever accomplished. So we’re losing residents because of high property taxes, we’ve got a looming pension crisis, and now we have to put these very important issues on the back burner to deal with Amendment 1, because if it passes, this amendment will impede our ability to reform any of these issues.”

“Instead, public union members will have the power to dictate policy for the [other 90% of us] under this amendment. I believe in collective bargaining, but Amendment 1 also includes a provision that ‘this could never be changed or repealed’ and that is a problem. Voters and taxpayers deserve a way to correct bad policy.”

“I would say to the people of the state of Illinois: let us not make the same mistake that was made in 1970 by enshrining the Pension Protection Clause into the constitution, making commonsense reform nearly impossible. There was a 37% voter turnout that year and it has haunted us for the past 53 years and it affects everybody and future generations to come.”

“I formed a citizen-led group called the Citizen Advisory Coalition 2 Save Illinois. We meet every fourth Wednesday of the month. We advocate for policies that will reduce the tax burden on Illinois’ residents and raise awareness of bad legislation such as Senate Bill 508 and now this Amendment 1 that will be devastating to our already shrinking tax base.”

“We want taxpayers to understand that if Amendment 1 passes, it gives the union bosses total control to negotiate for anything. Amendment 1 includes ‘economic welfare.’ What does that mean?”

“Union bosses could ask local municipalities to pay their mortgage, pay their rent. The Chicago Teachers Union went on strike and argued for housing down-payment assistance in 2019. The precedent has been set, and this amendment opens a Pandora’s box of what else union bosses could ask for and have us pay for.”

“Where does it stop? This amendment opens doors for a windfall of things that should not be covered by the constitution.”

“And the bottom line is this: Who’s going to pay for these unencumbered benefits? We can’t give the union bosses a blank check because the taxpayers simply can’t foot the bill. This is not a fiscally responsible piece of legislation.”

Anthony Travis
Retired union technician
Chicago, Illinois

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