Ohio’s Fiscal Health, Other States’ Balanced Budget Requirements Are Models for Washington
COLUMBUS – Frustrated by the increasing inability of Washington to responsibly manage the nation’s finances, today Ohio Gov. John R. Kasich called on states to lead the effort to enact a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. He also called for the Ohio General Assembly to help jump start the effort by passing a resolution calling for a constitutional convention that would approve a balanced budget amendment.
Kasich issued the following statement:
“We balance our budget in Ohio every year as does almost every other state in the nation. It’s not always easy and some states do it better than others, but in Ohio we get it done because it’s the right way to manage taxpayers’ money and it helps create a jobs-friendly climate. The federal government just doesn’t get it and its inability to manage the American taxpayers’ money is inexcusable. In the last 50 years, the federal government has only had five balanced budgets and it currently has $16.7 trillion in debt. That’s not the way the greatest country in the world should manage its affairs and it’s time for some discipline. The states set a better example of fiscal responsibility and the states should call for a constitutional convention where a balanced budget amendment can be approved and sent to the states for ratification. Hopefully, however, Congress will pass an amendment itself before it gets that far. In the meantime, I’m going to work with the General Assembly to put Ohio behind this effort. Our nation’s future stability requires it and the American people deserve it.”
It takes 34 states to call for a convention to be held and 38 states to ratify a constitutional amendment. Approximately 20 states have resolutions outstanding calling for constitutional conventions for the purpose of enacting a balanced budget amendment. The Ohio General Assembly has considered similar resolutions several times in the past, including a resolution introduced by then-state Senator Kasich in 1981, but they have never been approved.
While a member of Congress, Kasich supported a federal balanced budget amendment and, as chair of the House Budget Committee, successfully led efforts to balance the federal budget in fiscal years 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001, the first balanced budgets since 1969.
Kasich inherited an historic $8 billion budget shortfall upon taking office as governor in 2011 but worked with the General Assembly to overcome it without a tax increase and without drastic cuts to state services. Instead, Ohio reengineered its approach to key programs like Medicaid, where it reined-in spending while simultaneously improving the quality of care to vulnerable Ohioans.