If we don't get out Tuesday and vote NO on Amendments One and Two, the scheme to keep us in the dark will have succeeded. These are amendments to our Constitution, very hard to undo once they've passed.
I wondered here if the lack of publicity about the election Tuesday was intentional. I'm not the only one. I heard a repeat of one of Matt Murphy's shows today and he has the same opinion. There are other amendments on the ballot for certain counties but One and Two are statewide. The Birmingham News did write about it today in the editorial section, with a big Vote Yes in the headline.
Brian at Flashpoint has a great post on Amendment One. Please read it and consider his arguments. They are well thought out and (in my opinion) on the money.
As for Amendment Two:
Proposed Amendment 2, endorsed by the Retirement Systems of Alabama CEO David Bronner and the Alabama Education Association, would create trust funds for education and state employees for health-care benefits.
According to an editorial in the RSA’s June newsletter, the health-care trust funds would be similar to pension funds created for retired state and public education employees in the 1940s.
Do you have a trust fund for your health care? Why should state employees have one, at your expense? We will be paying for these benefits one way or another. But if they are in the Constitution it will be much harder to adjust the benefits if the need arises. The Montgomery Advertiser (also urging Yes votes)
Until this year, Alabama state government covers its health-benefit costs for state employees and public education employees on a "pay-as-you-go" basis, essentially coming up with the money each year to cover that year's costs.
But federal accounting rules changes now require states to have full disclosure of all long-term liability for future retiree health-benefit costs, which is estimated now at about $20 billion for Alabama. Unless it is addressed in some significant way, that outstanding liability could cause the state to have to pay much higher interest rates on money that it has to borrow.
The Legislature addressed this issue earlier by creating new health-care funds for both state employees and state education employees. The state can set aside money in these funds to help offset these huge liabilities. The money that is set aside would then earn interest that could help cover the cost of health benefits in future years.
But what the Legislature creates it can uncreate. Legislators could dip into the money set aside for health benefits in future years unless this amendment passes to provide constitutional protection to ensure these funds were used only for the purpose intended. (my emphasis)
Well cry me a river. Average Alabamians, those of us not represented by Paul Hubbert, have to suffer the whims of the Legislature, why should state employees get special treatment? Why should state employees get the benefit of a Constitutional Amendment to guarantee their benefits? If these benefits are guaranteed by the Constitution, our elected representatives (we the people) will effectively lose control over an "estimated" $20 billion. That's billion, folks. Just vote NO. We've been jerked around by Paul Hubbert enough.