To: Rep. Briscoe, J.,
Subject: On behalf of our Utah membership, I urge you to reconsider H.J.R 8
Dear Representative Briscoe,
On behalf of our Utah membership, I urge you to support H.J.R 8 calling for a convention of the states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution to solely consider a federal balanced budget amendment.
A federal balanced budget amendment should not be a partisan issue; over the past decade both Republican and Democratic members of Congress have shown themselves incapable of reigning in federal spending and deficits. It will be up to Democratic and Republican state legislators working together in a bipartisan manner through the Article V process to save our nation from insolvency.
Democrats at the state level must and will be a part of any Article V solution. The state initiated Article V amendment process can only be effective if such an amendment gathers sufficient Republican and Democratic support to be ratified by the requisite 38 states.
As a Democrat you will have a say in how the amendment is written. H.J.R. 8 does not call for a specific balanced budget amendment. It simply is an application for a convention of the states in which delegates from all 50 states representing both parties will author a federal balanced budget amendment.
Some of Democratic legislators have expressed concern regarding the functioning of a balanced budget amendment during times of war or natural disaster. A balanced budget amendment can be written in such a manner that allows a 2/3rds vote of Congress to pass an emergency spending bill with a one year exception in cases of national emergency or times of war. This threshold will discourage abuse, yet will be viable enough to encourage bipartisan cooperation during times of emergency.
No one expects to solve our nations spending addiction immediately. For any balanced budget amendment to have a chance of ratification, it will have to be phased in over a period of years following ratification. Implementation over a 10 year period would require the national deficit reduced by a minium1/10th per year.
The balanced budget amendment has been criticized by some because of the difficulty in calculating yearly expected revenue. However, this need not be an issue as expenditure levels can be based over a seven year average of prior revenues with adjustments for population and inflation growth, this is known as a business cycle balanced budget amendment. This form of a BBA has the benefit of using an identifiable number instead of an estimate. This BBA avoids the trap of temporary economic fluctuations leading to huge fluctuations in federal spending. This form of a BBA ensures federal programs benefiting our most marginalized citizens are protected.
Currently, the share of the federal national debt by each of your taxpayer’s is approximately $135,000. In 2011 alone, our nation spent $454.4 billion on interest payments on our $17+ trillion national debt... almost one-half of a trillion dollars wasted on debt annual interest payments. Interest payments and additional borrowing is increasing at $58,000 per second. This unimaginable mismanagement of public funds is irresponsible, and unsustainable.
Recent polling shows that 70% of the American people want a Constitutional amendment ratified that will place fiscal restraints onto the federal government, the same type of restraints that 49 of the 50 states are required to observe. This has been the most popular type of amendment for well over 40 years, and yet, congress refuses to abide by the will of their constituents and pass an amendment or
Our Utah members urge your support of HJR 8 to constitutionally stop our federal government’s unsustainable deficit spending that threatens the American Dream.
Balanced Budget Amendment Task Force
P.O. Box 1261
Leesburg, VA 20177