Argument Against Highway Funding “Lockbox” Constitutional Amendment

Wonder Lake’s Kelly Liebmann wrote this letter to the Daily Herald. It is printed with permission of the author.

The proposed Amendment to the Illinois Constitution will be on the top of everyone’s ballot.

‘Lockbox’ amendment won’t solve problems

Kelley Liebmann

Kelley Liebmann

This fall, Illinois voters will make a choice on the ballot whether to support a constitutional amendment which would create a “lockbox” to prevent Illinois government from raiding transportation funds.

The legislation has been praised by politicians from both sides of the aisle as a way to prevent them from raising taxes again.

The amendment would guarantee all revenue raised through motor fuel tax, tollways, licenses and vehicle registration fees could only be spent on transportation projects, mass transportation, etc. and will not be diverted to fund other purposes.

Make no mistake, Illinois taxpayers, this amendment does not protect funding for roads as our snake oil salesmen politicians would like you to believe.

Monies from the lockbox will also be spent on government waste, planning, salaries, and any “necessary” projects our wonderful leaders choose.

We wouldn’t need a “lockbox” constitutional amendment if politicians in Springfield would do their jobs and provide a truly balanced budget.

This amendment will do nothing to help Illinois’ dire financial woes.

What is also worrisome to me is supporters of the amendment: The Illinois Chamber of Commerce, construction groups, and unions have raised $1.2 million for an awareness campaign to educate voters on the “correct way” to vote.

I will be voting “no” on the binding “lockbox” referendum this fall.

Public pensions are guaranteed by the Illinois Constitution.

How is that working out for us?


Argument Against Highway Funding “Lockbox” Constitutional Amendment — 21 Comments

  1. The amendment voters really should be voting on is the one about computerized boundary drawing.

    Talk about badly needed reform that was derailed by twerp majority sitting on the ILSC.

  2. Randall Road as specific example.

    This Amendment would force property tax dollars to be spent on this (including paying millions to private property owners for land of questionable value, in secret and decided by a few political insiders) rather than allocated to police funding, at the expense of the many for the benefit of the few.

  3. Since when has the Constitution meant anything to Democrats in Illinois?

    Oh, yes – when it GUARANTEES public sector pensions.

    The rest of the time, it is mostly ignored.

    I will be joining Mrs. Liebmann with a NO vote.

  4. I agree “Questioning”…the Illinois Constitution requires a balanced budget.

    How’s that working out for everyone?

  5. I am shocked, just shocked; that anyone would even bother to write to the Daily Herald.

    They are even MORE Communist than the NWH!

  6. No constitutional amendment to repeal prevailing (union) wage so true competitive bidding could occur on transportation projects though.


    No constitutional amendment to prevent benefit hikes while pensions are underfunded.

    Another big diversion of money was diverting employer pension contributions to salary hikes, which in turn worsened the pension under funding.

    The diversion occurred while pensions were already underfunded.

  7. WEll stated, this is nothing more than smoke and mirrors.

    I have seen what they do with excess $$ IDOT, etc.. and its to hire their buddys to help spend the over flow of such $$.

    Our Tax $$.

  8. Comparing the “lock box” on transportation to the guaranteed union pension from the State Constitution, is a red herring argument.

    The two are not interlinked and are separate ideas.

    Regarding a “lock box” in general I support the concept.

    Wouldn’t it be great to have Social Security locked so the federal government can not raid the fund and balance the budget off the backs of specific money?

    Being from The Great State of Wisconsin, around 2010 Gov Jim Doyle (D).

    Balanced the state of WI budget by directly taking $500 million from the State of Wisconsin Transportation fund and putting that money directly into the General Fund.

    A lock box, may prevent this from occurring here in the Bankrupt State of Illinois.

    As the years continue to go by and the voters of the state refusing to make changes to their elected politicians.

    The budget and pension will only get worse as the economy and population shrinks.

    The elected politicians of the future will move any money they can to balance the budget and pay off the pension at the cost of the Transporation fund.

    Like I said, look to other states for examples of what will playout in the future…

  9. It is a tax hike in disguise.

    It is meant to drive unions and special interests to the polls.

    This state is a fiscal train wreck not because there is no transportation lockbox in the state constitution.

    Does the US constitution have a lockbox on transportation revenue.


    Vote no.

    The real problem is legislative pension benefit hikes to pensions that were already underfunded.

    Prevailing wage.

    Legislative retiree healthcare benefit hikes when retiree healthcare was underfunded.

    Mandatory fees toa union that covers a job, as a condition of employment (forced fees to a union).

    Employers do not issue collective bargaining agreement change documents to the public so the changes from the previous agreement can be easily and quickly identified.

    Can you imagine looking at a piece of propised legislation that did not have proposed changes identified, with for example underline text for additions and stricken text for deletions?

    Reitiree healthcare, pension, collective bargaining agreement, and administrator himes were not clearly disclosed to tbepublic.

    Term limits.

    Better legislative boundaries drawn every 10 years.

    Truly balanced budgets so we do not have spending over revenue.

    Unfunded state mandates from Springfield to state and local units of government, that often result in hiked taxes to fulfill the mandate

    The list goes on and on.

    There are far more important priorities than transpirtation revenue being diverted to non transportation use.

    Get ready for a tax hike after the November 8, 2016 election.

  10. Who would benefit from this change?

    Operating Engineers unions and the road building industry in general.

    Mark nails it!!!!

    Get ready for a tax hike after the November 8, 2016 election.

    In the mean time, work to defeat this latest Constitutional debacle!!

  11. We shouldn’t need to have or vote on amendments like these.

    When a tax to fund something specific, like a gas tax or a toll, is established it should fund only what it is intended to fund.

    To transfer or raid a fund for another purpose should be illegal.

    That goes for all special taxes and all separate funds and all units of government.

    Oh wait I just awoke from my dream to find myself still an IL resident

  12. Here’s an idea- go research it yourself.

    Then you will realize everything she has said is in correct. The infrastructure is crumbling.

    Bridges are dangerous.

    Funds raised for infrastructure should go to infrastructure.

    Anyone who thinks that the Illinois Chamber and Unions work together has absolutely no grasp of reality.


  13. Exactly what bridge is dangerous.

    Dangerous bridges are closed.

    She did not say the chambers and unions work together.

    She said they are both supporting the amendment.

    Want more infrastructure work done?

    Lower government costs for infrastructure projects.

    Lots of ideas for that in the Republican Governor Rauner administration’s Turnaround Agenda.

    Pension benefits should not have been hiked when pensions were already underfunded.

    Pensions are the biggest fiscal problem in Illinois, not diverted transportation revenue.

    There are plenty of more important priorities than diverted transportation.

    Once again the US Constitution has no such provision for transportation revenues.

  14. A PAC supporting the constitutional amendment has been formed.

    Its name is Citizens to Protect Transportation Funding.

    Illinois State Board of Elections committee ID 32141.

    Its website is


    Supporters listed on the website include the employer of 63rd District Democrat State Representative candidate John Bartman:

    Indiana, Illinois, Iowa Foundation for Fair Contracting (IIIFFC).

    Another supporter is IUOE Local 150, which is the union affiliated with IIIFFC.


    The purpose of a state constitution should not include a funding guarantee for road construction and maintenance.

  15. The Treasurer of the PAC is Andrew M Raucci, a lawyer and lobbyist at Raucci & Sullivan Strategies, LLC.


    The proposed constitutional amendment adds Section 11 to Article IX of the Illinois State Constitution.

    Article IX is titled Revenue.

    Current Sections in Article IX:

    1. State Revenue Power

    2. Non-Property Taxes – Classification, Exemptions, Deductions, Allowances, and Credits

    3. Limitations on Income Taxation

    4. Real Property Taxation

    5. Personal Property Taxation

    6. Exemptions from Property Taxation

    7. Overlapping Taxing Districts

    8. Tax Sales

    9. State Debt

    10. Revenue Article Not Limited


    The Amendment was House Joint Resolution 154 in the 99th General Assembly.

  16. It was passed out of both the house and the senate with Bi partisan support because it is good for the state.

    Because Business benefits.

    Because you can’t move commerce if you don’t have roads.

    Governor Rauner and GOP Ken Griffith GOP donors Richard Uihlein and Ken Griffin are all backing it- funny you don’t mention that Mark.

  17. The Lockbox Amendment passed.

    The New York Times reports, as of November 10, 2016 at 2:21AM ET:

    Yes Votes – 3,703,153 – 78.9%

    No Votes – 988,861 – 21.1%

    99% of Precincts Reporting (9,995 out of 10,088 Precincts)


    Here is the question as it appeared on the ballot.

    “The proposed amendment adds a new section to the Revenue Article of the Illinois Constitution.

    The proposed amendment provides that no moneys derived from taxes, fees, excises, or license taxes, relating to registration, titles, operation, or use of vehicles or public highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, or airports, or motor fuels, including
    bond proceeds, shall be expended for other than costs of administering laws related to vehicles and
    transportation, costs for construction, reconstruction, maintenance, repair and betterment of public highways, roads, streets, bridges, mass transit, intercity passenger rail, ports, airports, or
    other forms of transportation, and other statutory highway purposes, including the State or local share to match federal aid highway funds.

    You are asked to decide whether the proposed amendment should become part of the Illinois Constitution.

    For the proposed addition of Section 11 to Article IX of the Illinois Constitution.”

  18. In a November 9, 2016 report Moody’s issued a “credit negative” (not a credit downgrade) on State of Illinois debt in their “US Public Finance Weekly Credit Outlook” report.

    The reason is the Lockbox Amendment further limits the State’s budgeting options.


    Get ready for a tax hike during the “lame duck” session of the Illinois General Assembly, before the newly elected State Representatives and Senators are sworn into office in early January, 2017.

  19. Spot on Mark!

    Question: Will Franks have to resign his Representative position before he is sworn in as County Board Chairman in Dec,?

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