Senate Finance Advances Balanced Budget Amendment Resolution

Charleston Gazette - West Virginia moved a step closer Monday to becoming the 27th state to call for a constitutional convention to propose a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Read

With members of the Senate Finance Committee objecting to Chairman Mike Hall's proposal to study the issue at a later meeting, the committee advanced a resolution (SCR13) Monday calling for the constitutional convention.

A total of 34 states must adopt the resolutions in order to call the first constitutional convention in the U.S. since 1787, and Bill Fruth, national coordinator for the Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force, told committee members the numbers are getting close.

"It's just possible we could reach 34 states by July of this year," he said.

Fruth, an economist, said requiring balanced budgets is critical to avoid running up trillion-dollar U.S. debts in the future.

"We are in one desperate situation," he said.

However, Ted Boettner, executive director of the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy urged caution in taking the rare step of calling a constitutional convention.

"I feel like Donald Rumsfeld. There are known unknowns with this," Boettner said, paraphrasing the former defense secretary. "We are in a very polarized political environment, not only in West Virginia, but the U.S. as well."

Boettner called on the committee to have the state Supreme Court or other legal experts review the resolution.

"Please ask somebody who doesn't have a stake in it to review it," he said.


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