Calling For Financial Responsibility In Washington
By State Senator Scott Oelslager
November 07, 2013
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Last week, I was proud to co-sponsor Senate Joint Resolution 5, which calls for an amendment to be added to the U.S. Constitution requiring Congress to balance the federal budget. Spending within our means and learning to be responsible with what we have are key principles in order to retain both financial and national security.
Article V of the United States Constitution outlines two methods by which the founding document can be amended.  The traditionally executed path allows Congress to authorize an amendment, which goes into effect after it is ratified by three-fourths of the 50 state legislatures. The second allows a constitutional convention to be called by two-thirds (34) of the state legislatures.  The resulting amendment must then be ratified by three-fourths (38) states.  This convention of the states would have the specific purpose of requiring, in the absence of a national emergency, that the total of all federal appropriations made by Congress for any fiscal year cannot exceed the total of all estimated federal revenues for that fiscal year.  Again, thirty-four states have to make applications on this same subject in order for the convention to be called and in order for this provision to be added to the U.S. constitution, 38 states would be needed for ratification.
Senate Joint Resolution 5 (SJR 5) calls on the members of Congress to propose an amendment on their own, but also gives Ohio’s endorsement for a constitutional convention should Congress fail to act.
Ohio’s constitution requires a balanced budget.  I am so proud of the work we’ve done here in Ohio.  In our most recent budget, the state legislature passed a large tax cut.  Over the past two years, we’ve added $2 billion to the state of Ohio’s Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day fund.
The current national debt surpasses $17 trillion dollars. This is a national crisis and we can’t wait any longer to address this public debt.  As more states pass resolutions calling for a balanced budget convention, Congress may be pressured to act.  We should all come together and be dedicated in this effort.  We must not forget that balancing our budget is not just about reworking some large numbers, it’s about preserving our freedom and the American dream.
SJR 5 passed the Ohio Senate last week with an overwhelming, bipartisan vote of 28-3 and will now proceed to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.  Please do not hesitate to contact me by calling (614) 466-0626, emailing, or by writing me at 1 Capitol Square, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

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