What Illinois businesses need to know about Amendment 1
Amendment 1 would enshrine permanent power for public unions in the state constitution which could mean higher taxes, higher costs, and potentially costly litigation for business owners.
When voters decide the fate of Amendment 1 on Nov. 8, every business in the state will face major implications.
Illinoisans already pay for 78% of healthcare costs for AFSCME, the state’s largest public union — and that’s only one of the many union demands contributing to Illinois’ sky-high taxes. If Amendment 1 passes, it would stifle any reform to right size AFSCME healthcare costs.
There’s also a direct correlation between what states owe public unions and debt, both of which are rampant in Illinois.
More debt means the state will take more from businesses owner and taxpayers who already pay the second-highest property taxes in the nation.
Damages business climate
Illinois' record of taxes and fees has caused the state to become one of the worst places to do business in the Midwest. Among Illinois and its neighbors, only Illinois dropped in the Tax Foundation’s Business Tax Climate rankings since 2018. Illinois’ business climate dropped seven places, to 36th from 29th in four years.
Amendment 1 effectively ties the hands of lawmakers who’d want to improve the business climate as it prohibits lawmakers from changing any of its language.
This means if lawmakers unanimously agree on reform, union leaders can simply demand the opposite in a contract. Under Amendment 1, what union leaders want would trump any state law.
Increases legal costs
Amendment 1 applies to both public and private sector employees, expanding collective bargaining subjects from only wages and hours to subjects like “economic welfare.”
Without defining subjects for collective bargaining, Amendment 1 opens the door to a bevy of lawsuits that would cost employers money and time in litigation.
Rejecting Amendment 1 is another opportunity for voters to stop government unions from demanding more from businesses and taxpayers than they already do.
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