Sen. Brandenburg supports balanced budget amendment

 

LANSING — To help control government spending, state Sen. Jack Brandenburg supports instituting a federal balanced budget amendment to require Congress to limit spending to no more than projected revenues.

“Here in Michigan we are constitutionally required to balance our budget on an annual basis, unlike the federal government,” said Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township. “National government spending is out of control and must be reined in. I urge Michigan voters to voice their support for this much needed reform now.”

Article 4 Section 31 of the Michigan Constitution states: “One of the general appropriation bills as passed by the Legislature shall contain an itemized statement of estimated revenue by major source in each operating fund for the ensuing fiscal period, the total of which shall not be less than the total of all appropriations made from each fund in the general appropriation bills as passed.”

According to Brandenburg, this means that proposed spending cannot exceed projected revenues.

With the exception of Vermont, every state in the union has some form of balanced budget requirement. Some states have a constitutional requirement, like Michigan, while others are required by statute or judicial interpretation and court rulings.

Enacting a federal balanced budget requirement would require a two-thirds majority vote in both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, as well as ratification by at least 38 states.

“Having to balance Michigan’s budget every year forces elected officials into making extremely tough choices during lean economic times, but we are much better off for it,” Brandenburg said. “The interest alone on the federal debt has become one of the largest annual expenditures in the federal budget, last year reaching $413,954,825,362.17, or nearly half a trillion dollars in interest alone!”
 

Sen. Brandenburg: college scholarships available for fixing Michigan

LANSING — State Sen. Jack Brandenburg encourages college students with ideas on how to help improve Michigan’s infrastructure to apply for a scholarship through the Students Reinventing Michigan Corporation.

“College students throughout the 11th Senate District should seriously consider applying for this scholarship,” said Brandenburg, R-Harrison Township, member of the Senate Transportation Committee. “We need to engage our young people in helping improve our state; after all, they are our future.”

The annual competition gives students a chance to get involved with Michigan policy. The competition is open to all undergraduate students attending Michigan colleges, universities, or community colleges.

The goal of the competition is to engage students in finding solutions to contemporary issues in Michigan. The topic this year is how the Legislature can improve Michigan’s infrastructure with public support in these challenging times.

The competition is open until Nov. 15, when proposals are due. Students must register and submit their proposals online at: www.studentsreinventingmichigan.com.

The awards will be announced on Jan. 15. Winners of the competition will receive cash prizes. The grand prize winner will receive $10,000, second place finishers earn a $5,000 prize, and 10 third-place winners will receive $500.

Those who wish to participate for first- and second-place prizes must make a plan that contains recommendations to the governor and Legislature. The applicant whose plan is adopted (or largely adopted) by the Legislature will win the grand prize. Individuals whose plans are adopted to a lesser degree are eligible to be one of five second-place winners.

Applicants can win a third-place prize by creating public support for infrastructure funding by using the media. Students who create the 10 most influential communications will win the third-place prize.

The competition will be judged by a panel of government officials. Sen. Tom Casperson, R-Escanaba, chair of the Senate Transportation Committee, and Rep. Paul Opsommer, R-DeWitt, chair of the House Transportation Committee will appoint two members from their respective chambers, one Democrat and one Republican, to serve as judges for the competition.

For more information about the competition, visit: www.studentsreinventingmichigan.com.