On the November 2017 ballot, New York voters will be asked to decide whether to call a convention to rewrite the New York State Constitution.
A constitutional convention would have far reaching, long-term consequences that threaten many of the benefits and services working New Yorkers depend on and expect — and once they are gone, it could take decades to get them back.
PEF MEMBERS, introduce yourself to all the tools in our kit. Here is tool #1 Get to know the facts:
What’s at stake?
- The environment – New York State’s constitution has the nation’s strongest protections for forever wild areas like the Adirondacks and the Catskills. Greedy developers could push to undo these safeguards;
- Public education – The state constitution guarantees our students the right to a free public education;
- The social safety net – The state constitution ensures the state provides for citizens in need;
- Our voting rights – The constitution provides valuable protections; and
- Don’t risk losing these vital safeguards.
It’s A Politician’s Convention!
- During the last convention, four out of five delegates were career politicians and Albany insiders;
- And every politician who ran for a delegate seat that year, won a delegate seat;
- And who ran the show? All of the convention leaders were sitting legislators;
- Most troubling? Thanks to Citizens United, corporate special interests can spend unlimited money getting their cronies elected; and
- Do you trust Albany insiders to do what’s right? Don’t risk it.
It’s just not necessary!
- A process already exists to amend the state constitution, and it doesn’t cost a thing;
- For example, the state Legislature passed an amendment in 2013 expanding casino gambling. The same process could be used for new amendments;
- Opening the state constitution is like opening Pandora’s Box;
You can’t predict what changes delegates will make;
- The last time a convention took place it was a complete failure; voters rejected every proposed constitutional change; and
- Don’t add to Albany waste.
A waste of tax dollars!
- Experts estimate a constitutional convention will cost hundreds of millions in taxpayer dollars;
- Lawmakers can collect salaries and pension credits as elected officials and as delegates simultaneously;
- The last time a constitutional convention took place, it cost taxpayers millions and accomplished nothing;
- Constitutional conventions don’t have mandatory end dates -delegates keep meeting and taxpayers keep paying; and
- Should taxpayers fund a party for Albany insiders? No!
Labor rights at risk!
- At risk: The right to unionize and bargain collectively. Your union’s strength could be jeopardized;
- At risk: Workers’ compensation. Safeguard your rights if you’re injured on the job;
- At risk: Public pension protections. The constitution guarantees your pension will be there;
- Other states have made drastic pension changes with disastrous results for active members and retirees. Don’t let it happen here; and
- Don’t risk your rights/your future!