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Illinois Pension Amendment Fails

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Illinois voters rejected a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would have required a three-fifths vote, instead of a simple majority, for any public body to increase public pension benefits.

Some voters found the proposed change confusing and rejected the amendment 56 percent to 44 percent.

“It seemed like double-talk to me,” said Jim Chmura, 67, of Oak Park, who voted against it.

A Chicago Tribune editorial last month said the amendment was really nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

“Yes, the amendment would raise, to three-fifths, the required approval by the Legislature or any local government body that wants to raise a pension or retirement benefit,” the Tribune said.

“Trouble is, lawmakers have approved almost all pension sweeteners by overwhelming votes because every legislator wants to be in on the giveaway to workers (who tend to vote accordingly). In the real world, then, raising the approval threshold to three-fifths would have virtually no impact.”

(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS Radio and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)