Union member: Amendment 1 works against union interests

Union member: Amendment 1 works against union interests

A union member argues both government union members and taxpayers lose if Amendment 1 passes Nov. 8. He’s against it.

Union bosses’ recent campaign ad for what they call the “Workers’ Rights Amendment” features a worker claiming Amendment 1 will “keep jobs in Illinois. It’s good for taxpayers and it’s good for the economy.”

Except it won’t keep jobs in Illinois, and it’s not good for taxpayers or the economy, as union member Anthony Travis knows personally.

“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,” Travis said.

“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.”

At the top of the ballot Nov. 8, Illinois voters will be asked about a “Proposed Amendment to the 1970 Illinois Constitution.” That’s Amendment 1.

Amendment 1 would insert four clauses into the Illinois Constitution that promise:

Illinoisans already pay the second-highest property taxes in the nation. High property taxes are a major reason taxpayers are fleeing to lower-tax states. Amendment 1 promises to increase this burden by expanding the scope of bargaining to virtually any topic.

As the list of demands government unions can make grows, Illinois taxpayers would be tasked with footing the bill for the higher costs of both new benefits and longer negotiations. States with more powerful government employee unions have both higher property tax rates and greater debt burdens.

“We want taxpayers to understand that if Amendment 1 passes, it gives the union bosses total control to negotiate for anything. Union bosses could ask local municipalities to pay their mortgage, pay their rent. This amendment opens a Pandora’s box of what else union bosses could ask for and have us pay for,” Travis said.

“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.”

The costs of longer negotiations as union bosses demand more would add to the already ballooning $313 billion public pension debt, further driving up state and local taxes that are already among the highest in the nation. Spending on vital programs would continue to fall.

Amendment 1 only impacts government union members, because federal law covers private-sector unions and states cannot usurp federal authority. But higher property taxes impact all union members as well as every Illinoisan: renters see property taxes passed on to them through higher rents and businesses suffer and create fewer jobs – despite what the commercial says.

Some businesses and residents have already voted on our state’s policies by leaving Illinois.

“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,” Travis said.

Illinois has many challenges ahead, including the threat of a recession. Is this really the time to create more trouble through Amendment 1?

How will amendment 1 affect your property tax bill?

Enter your county and home value above
If Illinois voters pass Amendment 1 in November, you can expect to pay in higher property taxes over the next four years.

This tool uses compound annual growth rates in the All-Transactions House Price Index by the Federal Housing Finance Agency for Illinois counties from 2010-2021 to project future home values through 2026. To project property tax bills through 2026, the tool uses the compounded annual growth rate in median property tax rates for Illinois counties, calculated using 1-year and 5-year U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey estimates from 2010-2020.

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