A three-fifths vote requirement means the members of the governing body, regardless of political affiliation, will need to work together to reach an agreement. A greater consensus would provide for better decisions and more serious deliberation. Given the importance of pension benefit increases, and their subsequent impact on taxpayers, greater agreement would be beneficial.
Arguments Against the Proposed Amendment
1. A higher vote requirement may limit the bargaining power of employers and employees.
2. There is the possibility of disagreement on what constitutes a benefit increase.
3. Requiring a supermajority for pension benefit increases could make it more difficult to recruit the best people to work in government service.
Decreased Bargaining Power
Many government employees are represented by labor unions that bargain on their behalf for particular benefits. This constitutional amendment may make it more difficult for unions to bargain for certain increased benefits for their employees.
In addition, many government employers may prefer to bargain over these benefits to give incentives to employees to do their jobs well. This constitutional amendment could remove bargaining power from both the government employer and government employee.
Possibility of Disagreement on Terms
The proposed amendment creates new definitions for the terms "benefit increase," "emolument increase," and "beneficial determination," which are not defined in other statutes or in existing case law. These definitions could generate litigation, resulting in additional costs. There may also be disagreement amongst the governing body on whether a bill, resolution, or other action constitutes a "benefit increase," "emolument increase," or "beneficial determination."
Recruiting Employees for Government Jobs
Like any employer, units of government wish to attract good employees. This constitutional amendment may make it more difficult for employers to increase benefits to employees and, therefore, make it harder to attract the best people to government service.
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