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!”