To the Editor: Vote No on Constitutional Amendments

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Vote No on Constitutional Amendments

There are many reasons to recommend “No” votes on both amendments on the ballot.

No. 1, the “right to work” amendment: the reasons to oppose this are legion. “Right to work” means almost exactly the opposite. “Right to work” legislation actively discourages strong unions, who brought us the weekend, and the 40-hour week, and employment-based health insurance, among many changes that are actually good for Virginia families. It means that if there are 100 employees in a union business, all 100 employees get the benefit of being represented by a union, even though only 50 may decide that they want to pay dues. Obviously, that weakens unions’ clout in the long run.  Secondly, Virginia has had a “right-to-work” statute on the books for decades already. This amendment is designed to make it almost impossible to change this in the future, if it ever comes to that. Good for employers perhaps (their bottom line), but very bad for Virginia families and thus the economy as a whole, as it undermines their future prospects. Third, the amendment is completely unnecessary, even if you think it is a good idea, and if you think that a Constitution ought to be limited to the really important issues that deal with the structure of government. It simply doesn’t belong in the Constitution.

No. 2, the “tax exemption for widows” exception shouldn’t be in the Constitution either, because creating exceptions to what should otherwise be a universal tax system is bad policy. It fights the idea that taxes are the price we pay for civilization. If you are a conservative on tax matters, you want fewer exceptions, not more. If you want to give benefits to widows of first responders, why not pay first responders more? Even if it is possibly a good idea, why should a tax-related policy be in the Constitution in the first place?

Let us reserve Constitutional amendments for the purpose of really broadly important matters that affect us all and which need to be designed to really improve our own well-being and the health of our society. We need to raise the bar (as John Elway tries to achieve in Colorado) to avoid that the Constitution is becoming the new playground for divisive partisan politics.

Ron Gaykema

Crozet

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