Plan set for constitutional convention
Conservatives pursue balanced budget goal
PHOENIX — Republican lawmakers from 19 states have completed a plan that provides an outline on how to run a constitutional convention that would propose a federal balanced budget amendment.
The four-day planning session, which ended Friday, at the Arizona state Capitol involved 71 delegates adopting rules, procedures and other details of how such a convention would be run. No Democrats attended.
Attendees called the product a historic effort that sets the stage for a convention of states to propose changes to the Constitution. They said a convention is the only way to force the federal government to address the nation’s $20 trillion deficit.
Utah state Sen. Ken Ivory said the nation has deep structural issues, and the only way to fix them is to use the Constitution’s own power to push changes through amendments proposed by states at a convention.
“We have a system in disrepair that operates to produce trillion-dollar deficits, to produce mountains of regulations and federal criminalization,” Ivory said. “And until we restore that balance and that division in power, we’re going to continue to see results that a system in disrepair produces.”
A convention is a long shot. One has never successfully been used to propose an amendment, and all 27 amendments that have been adopted were proposed by Congress. To call one, 34 state Legislatures would have to petition Congress. If an amendment is proposed, it would need ratification by 38 states.
The current federal budget includes spending of about $4 trillion and has a shortfall of nearly $700 billion, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
State Rep. Sage Dixon, seated center, huddles with other members of the Idaho Legislature’s delegation to a balanced budget planning convention at the Arizona Capitol in Phoenix on Sept. 12.