A constitutional amendment is on the ballot this year that would make it harder to increase public employees’ pensions.The amendment would require a three-fifths majority of the governing body to raise pension benefits. This applies to state and local governments and public authorities.

It is a problem, says Albert Llorens, secretary-treasurer of the Illinois Education Association. “This is going to empower just a few folks. If you go to 60 percent of seven (a typical school board), then five people would have to be in agreement, which means that a minority of the board could actually outweigh the majority,” he said.

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A coalition of public employee unions is opposing the measure.

Supporters say the measure will help the state’s unfunded pension liability, at least by making it harder to make it worse, and it would require a greater consensus to enact increases.

To pass, the amendment needs 60 percent of those voting on the question, or a majority of those voting in the election. If it passes, it will become part of the Illinois Constitution on Jan. 9, 2013.

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