LANSING, MI - During his State of the State address, Gov. Rick Snyder moved seamlessly from energy policy and combating invasive species to a call for the federal government to pass a balanced budget amendment.
"We balance our budget at home," Snyder said. "We balance our budget at work. Why can't the federal government balance theirs?"
The idea would be to amend the U.S. Constitution to require the federal government to pass a balanced budget each year.
During his speech, the governor singled out Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, to lead the way on a joint resolution from the Michigan House and Senate demanding just that.
Green represents Michigan's 31st Senate District, which encompasses Huron, Tuscola, Sanilac, Bay and Arenac counties. He is no stranger to the idea of a federal balanced budget amendment.
Green sponsored just such a resolution, Senate Joint Resolution V, whichwas approved by the Michigan Senate in November 2013.
"I wholeheartedly agree with Gov. Snyder when he says that Michigan serves as an example for how the federal government can get its fiscal house in order," Green said during a speech at the resolution's introduction in October 2013.
The senator said Michigan's state constitution could serve as an example for how to amend the U.S. Constitution.
"This constitutional provision serves Michigan's taxpayers well and it would serve our nation just as well," Green said.
Green's proposed joint resolution, after being passed in a Senate vote along party lines (26-12), has been referred to the State House Committee on Financial Liability Reform. The resolution has yet to be considered by the committee.
After the governor's address, Green said he appreciates Snyder's support for his efforts to issue the joint resolution.
"If we are to fulfill our greatest potential as a state, we must force the federal government to follow Michigan's lead by budgeting responsibly and living within its means," he said.
If passed, Michigan's would join 20 other states seeking to force the issue with the federal government. Convening a convention to amend the U.S. Constitution requires such resolutions from 34 states.
If a constitutional convention were convened, 38 states would be required to ratify changes for them to take effect.