To change Illinois, change its constitution, lawyer says
Reforming the Illinois Constitution and making sure those in power will put the state on a fiscally responsible path is the way to securing a bright future, according to Jacob Huebert, a senior attorney at the Liberty Justice Center.
Huebert's comments came just days after Moody's downgraded five public universities in the state to junk status, and many fear the state is next. That fate must be avoided, Huebert told Dan Proft and Amy Jacobson, the hosts of Chicago’s "Morning Answer" radio show.
Proft is a principal of Local Government Information Services, which owns this publication.
Huebert said that despite a constitutional requirement to balance the budget, the Illinois government can borrow money to do so, and that needs to change.
“You could have a balanced budget provision with real teeth in it and make them not spend more than they take in, without exceptions,” Huebert said.
Huebert also argued against a pension clause that has been interpreted in such a way as to give public workers an inflexible guarantee that they will continue to accrue benefits the same way over time.
“Amend that provision to allow the state to be flexible, and make changes to benefits that people earn going forward so that we don’t just have a fiscal disaster,” Huebert said.
Structural changes like redistricting reform and term limits would clear the path for real change in Illinois, according to Huebert, because right now the establishment keeps blocking changes to hold onto power.
“They give economic benefits to their cronies," he said. "The Constitution we have was supposed to prevent that sort of thing, but of course it hasn’t prevented it at all."
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