Constitution isn’t the place for this

One ballot measure in the upcoming election (Senate Joint Resolution 8206) proposes a constitutional amendment to establish a “rainy-day fund” for use in hard times or emergencies. While such a fund is very desirable, it doesn’t belong in the Constitution. It belongs in statute. The Constitution is a document that should broadly establish philosophy and processes of governance — not the specifics of budgeting. If this measure passes it would cast very specific provisions in stone, thereby limiting the Legislature’s ability to develop a needed budget. Statutes, on the other hand, are more flexible and can be changed if flawed.

And this measure contains one flaw from the “git go.” Except in major emergencies, it requires a three-fifths (60 percent) majority vote in both houses of the Legislature to access these rainy-day funds. That means that a minority of legislators (40 percent plus one) in either house could prevent the use of such funds in times of need. Thus, just one person could hold the fund hostage — perhaps to secure a favorable vote on some pet measure in exchange. That could happen more easily with a “super-majority” standard.

Vote no on Senate Joint Resolution 8206. Send it back to the Legislature to do it right.

Margery H. Krieger


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