As the General Assembly considers a proposal for a constitutional amendment that would impose arbitrary and rigid caps on spending, AARP Illinois today expressed strong opposition to the measure, sending a letter to Governor Quinn and legislative leaders asking them to urge lawmakers to reject the proposal.
The entire text of the letter, from AARP Illinois Senior State Director Bob Gallo, can be found below:
"On behalf of our 1.7 million Illinois members, AARP strongly opposes House Joint Resolution - Constitutional Amendment 61 for the devastating impact it would have on older Illinoisans, as well as on Illinoisans of all ages.
As a matter of policy, AARP opposes fixed, arbitrary, rigid caps on revenues and spending. Such constraints lead to vital services being shut down or severely diminished, and prevent states from responding to changing economic conditions - from recession and plant closings, to emergencies in public health, natural disasters, or terrorism.
HJRCA61 would impose such rigid and arbitrary caps on spending, making it impossible to meet new social and economic goals mandated by the courts or the federal government; it would tie the hands of elected officials - who have been chosen to make decisions about taxes and spending; and it would cut out citizens from fiscal policymaking - putting vital matters on auto pilot.
AARP has strongly and successfully opposed similar measures in states across the nation, from Oregon, to Maine, Washington, and most recently Florida where our members were instrumental in defeating a constitutional amendment. Even after a measure similar to HJRCA61 was passed in Colorado, the citizens of that state repealed it once they saw the devastating effect it had on the critical services they rely on, and on their very own livelihoods.
Recent studies have shown that HJRCA61 would lock Illinois' current human services underfunding into the constitution, worsening an already critical situation for thousands of providers and millions of Illinoisans who need those services.
For these reasons, we urge you to oppose, and to ask the members of the General Assembly to reject HJRCA61."
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