Do you know what a “lockbox” is?
It’s a legislator’s way of saying “Stop me before I hurt again.”
When you go to polls in November, you will be asked to vote on a state constitutional amendment to prevent the Illinois General Assembly and governor from raiding funds intended to be used for transportation projects such as roads and bridges. That’s the lockbox.
The idea is to stop our politicians — because they are incapable of stopping themselves — from spending the money on other stuff, such as social services, schools, prisons and, for that matter, their own salaries.
Nobody would be talking about lockboxes if our pathetic Legislature and governor would only come to terms on a new state budget that responsibly balances spending and revenue overall. No one doubts that transportation projects are in a sorry state in Illinois, with roads and highways in need of billions of dollars of repairs even as money collected from a gas tax, tolls and license fees is spent elsewhere. But the solution is a budget, not a shell game.
A lockbox is nothing but an admission of failure, and we urge you to vote the idea down November.
With any luck, though, there will be another constitutional amendment on the November ballot that we urge you to support. It would take from those same politicians the power to redraw the boundaries of legislative districts every 10 years. An independent commission, more interested in empowering your vote than protecting some incumbent’s job, would redraw the lines instead.
A bipartisan coalition, Independent Maps, has gathered more than enough petition signatures to get the measure on the ballot. But you can be sure that lawyers for the Democrats, the party that controls the Legislature, will go to court to try to block the measure.
If only we could put such cynical self-dealing into a lockbox, and drop it in Lake Michigan.
Follow the Editorial Board on Twitter: @csteditorials