On Wednesday, November 20, a resolution to urge Congress to propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution or have the states call a Constitutional Convention passed the Ohio House of Representatives in the form of Amended Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR 5), sponsored by Senator Keith Faber, a member of NFIB. It passed with bi-partisan support on a vote of 63-29, and the Ohio Senate then passed the measure, also with bi-partisan support 28-4 in concurrence with the Ohio House. In balloting, ninety percent of NFIB members supported a balanced budget amendment.
SJR 5 adds Ohio to the growing number of states exercising the right under Article V of the United States Constitution requesting Congress to call a convention for purposes of discussing amendments to the US Constitution. The language of SJR 5 is narrowly crafted so the focus of the convention is aimed solely at crafting a balanced budget amendment. Ohio is now the 20th state to pass such a measure and hopefully it will serve to lead several more states to join the effort. A total of 34 states need to pass such a measure to call the convention.
SJR 5 requires that, in the absence of a national emergency, the total of all federal appropriations made by the Congress for any fiscal year may not exceed the total of all estimated federal revenues for that same year. Further, delegates from Ohio will only be able to discuss a balanced budget amendment should other amendments be put forward, providing little potential for a runaway convention.
The United States is rapidly approaching $17 trillion in debt equaling nearly $150,000 per taxpayer. With Congress unwilling to address this pressing issue of national importance and make the tough decisions necessary to get the country’s fiscal house in order. Just as Ohio and virtually all other states are required to balance their budgets, it seems reasonable to expect the federal government to do the same.
NFIB/Ohio may consider Amended Senate Joint Resolution 5 a Key Small Business Vote of the 130th Gen¬eral Assembly. “NFIB/Ohio applauds the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives for passing Senate Joint Resolution 5 calling for a convention to discuss a balanced budget amendment. Just as our members must balance their books so too should the federal government. As the United States debt quickly approaches $17 trillion, we can no longer wait for our federal officials to address this pressing matter,” said Chris Ferruso, NFIB/Ohio legislative director.
Recently Governor Kasich had an opinion piece run in the Cincinnati Enquirer on the importance of this issue: http://news.cincinnati.com/article/20131202/EDIT/312020013/OPINION-Gov-Kasich-Our-nation-s-budget-must-balanced?nclick_check=1