As events in Washington continue to cause our nation's debt to skyrocket, Ohioans are rightfully expressing their concerns about how the fiscal mismanagement of our federal government will burden us for generations to come, debasing our currency and destabilizing our economy. Recently, our national debt surpassed $17 trillion, an amount that exceeds the debt of all European Union nations combined. This is clearly not sustainable, and with no federal restraint in sight, it is time for the state governments to step up and take the lead. That is exactly what we are doing.
Here in Ohio, we take this situation very seriously and are leading by example. As is required in our Ohio Constitution, we keep our state budget balanced and sustainable. Now we are calling on Washington to do the same. In September, I was pleased to co-sponsor House Joint Resolution 7, which calls for a Constitutional Convention in order to ratify a federal balanced budget amendment.
Specifically the resolution, referencing Article V of the U.S. Constitution, calls for a convention of the states "limited to proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States requiring, that in the absence of a national emergency, the total of all federal appropriations made by Congress for any fiscal year may not exceed the total of all estimated federal revenues for that fiscal year…"
Translation: The U.S. Constitution would be amended so that the federal government would be allowed to spend only as much as it takes in, resulting in a federally balanced budget and no additional federal debt, except in cases of a "national emergency."
If 34 states pass similar resolutions, then Congress must set a date and location for a Constitutional Convention to meet, and focus solely on enacting a balanced budget amendment. By doing this, states are taking the lead and exercising their ability to limit federal borrowing to prevent an economic catastrophe. Nineteen states have already passed similar resolutions. These include: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Texas. If passed by our General Assembly, Ohio would be the 20th.
I firmly believe that, like Ohio's state government, and responsible Ohio families, the federal government should operate within its means and ensure that its spending is fiscally responsible. The choice of the legacy we leave is ours to make. We can leave future generations saddled with trillions of dollars of national debt, or we can be fiscally responsible today so that future generations will have a chance for financial freedom.
As your voice in Columbus, I encourage you to weigh in on this or any other state-related matter. Please feel free to contact my office at 614-466-1177, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.