Earlier this month, IO Communication’s Director Dale Butland submitted testimony to committees in both the Ohio House and Senate in regards to resolutions calling for a federal balanced budget amendment. Below is the text of that testimony opposing both Senate Joint Resolution 9 and its companion piece of legislation, House Joint Resolution 7. Included at the end of the testimony is a note from Mr. Butland including further thoughts on why lawmakers in Ohio are calling for a federal balanced budget amendment at this point in time.
TESTIMONY OF DALE BUTLAND – INNOVATION OHIO
My name is Dale Butland and I am communications director for Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus.
I thank the Committee for this opportunity to comment on SJR 5. This resolution, if passed by both houses of the General Assembly, would put Ohio on record in calling for a federal constitutional convention for the purpose of passing a balanced budget amendment (hereafter, “BBA”) to the U.S. Constitution.
In the view of Innovation Ohio, a BBA is a terrible idea.
A Constitutional Convention is problematical
First, and quite apart from the merits of a BBA itself, calling a constitutional convention is rife with danger and uncertainty. Contrary to the soothing assurances of those who back SJR 5, there is no guarantee that such a convention could be confined or directed to concern itself only with adopting a BBA. Indeed, many constitutional scholars warn of the potential for a “runaway convention” in which delegates would be free to modify the Constitution in any way they see fit, including, for example, repealing or amending all or some of the Bill of Rights. [Read more…]