Thursday, September 14, 2017
November 7th is quickly approaching which means that the vote to hold a Constitutional Convention is upon us. There are many arguments back and forth, on whether or not New York State should open its Constitution. If the New York State Constitution were to be open, this would afford the opportunity for ANYTHING to change - it would literally be opening Pandora's Box. Many politicians would love to open the Constitution so that they can make "positive change". Are they being altruistic? No...
The truth is, opening the New York State Constitution would cost us, the taxpayers, an exorbitant amount of money. Experts estimate that the cost of holding a Constitutional Convention could be upwards of 350 million dollars. In order to hold a convention, NYS' Constitution dictates there must be three delegates per State Senate District and 15 at-large delegates who would be elected during the following year's general election. More than likely all these delegates would also already hold another elected position and would therefore be allowed to serve both in their elected office AND as a delegate, in essence collecting two salaries (that we are paying for). Even worse is that a delegate's salary of $79,500 per year must be paid even if the Constitutional Convention were to last only one month, one week, or one day.
The last time a Constitutional Convention took place, it was a complete failure. Voters rejected EVERY proposed constitutional change. Was that worth 350 million dollars?
If someone did want to make a change to our Constitution, there is another way. Any amendments are possible through the passage of individual bills by two separately elected state legislatures. Bills passed that propose specific amendment questions would then appear on the ballot the following November. This has been done approximately 200 times since the last major constitutional revision in 1894, most recently in 2014 for casino gaming. The best part about it - it did not cost us, the taxpayers, any additional money.
So what sounds better to you? Spend 350 million or ZERO for the exact same results? -Michael Cipriano, PFT