VOTE NO ON THE CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION
Protect the future you’ve worked so hard for!
In less than two weeks voters will go to the polls to vote on a constitutional convention. Proposition 1 reads:
“Shall there be a convention to amend the constitution and revise same?”
At present, the NYS Constitution reads that Public Pensions may not be “changed or diminished.” If the Constitution is opened, all bets are off – any modifications or changes made could impact retirees currently receiving a pension as well as future retirees. This includes not only teachers, but all civil servants who receive a public pension. This is a risk we cannot afford to take. Other states have made drastic pension changes with disastrous results for active members and retirees.
We are all familiar with the reasons public educators should be against a constitutional convention, but this is too important to our future to rely solely on the vote of NYSUT members. We’ve got to get the word out to our friends and families and encourage them to go to the polls and vote no. This is not the time for trusting that others will vote no and everything will continue as it has in the past.
An October 6, 2017 poll found that 44% of New Yorkers were in favor of holding a constitutional convention. Only 39% were opposed. http://www.newyorkconcon.info/?page_id=611
Voter apathy could destroy the safeguards to our future that we’ve spent decades fighting for!
Here are some important points for every voter to know:
The Cost to Taxpayers
The last time a convention took place it was a complete failure. In 1967 a constitutional convention was held. Delegates, the majority of whom were sitting legislators and Albany insiders, were paid a delegate salary for 10 years until their proposals went before voters. Voters rejected EVERY proposed constitutional change. The cost to taxpayers was $47 million.
If a convention were held today delegates would receive a salary of approximately $79,500. If a convention is held, 3 delegates will be elected from each senatorial district within the state, along with 15 at large delegates for a total of 204 delegates. When you do the math, that’s over $16,000,000 just for salaries, then you need to add on multiple staff members for each delegate and location.
In 1967, of 186 total delegates, 154 held some form of public office. That means that a sitting state legislator who is already being paid to represent New Yorkers in Albany will receive an additional salary and accrue double pension credits if elected to be a delegate to a convention.
If a convention is held today the estimated cost to taxpayers is over $350 million. Simply put, the taxpayers foot the bill, and politicians and political insiders reap the benefits. No wonder it’s called the Politicians’ Party.
A Better Way to Make Changes!
Holding a state constitutionals converntion is an expensive and wasterful option to amend the constitution. An individual bill for a single amendment is introduced and passed by two separately elected state legislatures. The amendment then goes back to voters to decide. This process has been used over 200 times in the past. It costs taxpayers nothing. There have been several important changes made this way including casino gambling, a paperless NYS Senate and NYS Assembly, taking away pensions from elected officials convicted of felonies (on ballot Nov. ‘17), and municipal land use in the Adirondacks (on ballot Nov. ‘17). For more information go to: https://www.nysut.org/~/media/files/nysut/nysut-united/2017/nysutunited_171019_conconspread.pdf?la=en
Protect Our Children’s Right to a Public Education
New York is one of the few states to list public education as a constitutional right in our state constitution. If the convention occurs, it is possible that the right to a sound basic education will be removed from the state constitution. This would be devastating for our schools and children. Secretary of Educaton Betsy DeVos has a national policy to privatize public education. We must stand up for public education.
Also at Risk
· Human and social service programs
· Environmental protections
Here’s a link to see the actual ballot voters will receive:
GO TO THE POLLS ON NOV. 7,
FLIP THE BALLOT, AND
VOTE NO ON PROPOSITION 1!