Michigan petitions Congress for federal balanced budget amendment

LANSING—The Michigan Legislature on Wednesday finalized a joint resolution, co-sponsored by Sen. Darwin Booher, to officially petition Congress to call a constitutional convention for a federal balanced budget amendment.

“Our federal government shut down last year because Congress and the president refuse to tackle the staggering national debt or annual deficit, which are currently more than $17 trillion and $750 billion respectively,” said Booher, R-Evart. “These figures are so large that it is nearly impossible to comprehend the magnitude of the problem. To try and put it in perspective, the national debt equates to more than $55,000 per person and about $150,000 per taxpayer. Clearly, it is long overdue for the federal government to stop spending money we don’t have.”

Senate Joint Resolution V officially petitions Congress to take the necessary steps toward passing a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The amendment would require an annual federal budget in which spending does not exceed existing revenues.

“It is sad and unfortunate that we need to amend the U.S. Constitution just to ensure that our elected federal officials balance the budget,” Booher said. “Northern Michigan families and job providers live within their means, and so should Congress. I co-sponsored this resolution because a balanced budget amendment will force Congress to focus on improving government efficiency, spend tax dollars wisely and hopefully begin to reduce the debt it is leaving our grandchildren.”

Twenty-two states have already approved the resolution. Once adopted by 12 more states, it becomes binding on Congress. Any balanced budget amendment proposed by the convention would still have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states before taking effect.

“The contrast between how Washington handles its budget and Michigan is striking,” Booher said. “Michigan has made the reforms and found efficiencies needed to balance a $1.5 billion deficit, begin paying down long-term state debts and still provide necessary services. Now, with our budget issues mostly behind us, we are able to focus on important priorities facing Michigan families, like investing more in our roads and local schools.”