Idaho legislature looks to pass balanced budget amendment

IDAHO (KIFI/KIDK) – The U.S. Constitution could be re-evaluated if a balanced budget initiative being considered by the Idaho Senate Affairs Committee is passed.

Political experts say there are several pros and cons to doing this.

The balanced budget amendment aims at fixing the fiscal problems for the nation. But in order to propose it, supporters of the bill want to call for a constitutional convention.

Opponents of the bill said this could be dangerous. When a convention is held, it opens up discussion for the possibility for changes to the U.S. Constitution.

“You might end up opening up a can of worms into a whole bunch of areas that I think probably a lot of folks here in Eastern Idaho would not want to see changed in the Constitution,” said Dan Cravens, chair of the Bingham County Republican committee.

Opponents of the bill argue that this isn’t necessary. They say the Constitution works. It has been the nation’s government guide for 225 years and has successfully withstood several tough circumstances in the nation. Our founding fathers established it for a reason and they feel it should not be messed with.

Cravens said one of his biggest concern to a constitutional convention is that there is really no protocol for it. He said there is no set system for how delegates are chosen. People with strong opinions could be sent to push their own agendas on any issue.

There is also no set rule for how many delegates would go. Cravens believes it would likely be based on state population. That means states like Idaho would be under-represented in a convention as opposed to larger states like California or New York.

Opponents also worry about the ripple effect this would have if anything with the Constitution is changed.

“What will American government look like in 50 years later after doing that? What will the American republic look like? Cravens said.”

Cravens said he believes those in favor of the balanced budget amendment should try to pass it as a traditional amendment and forget the convention. He also said there is a long way to go for the bill to pass in Idaho and he doesn’t feel it will end up passing for Idaho.

The balanced budget amendment needs two-thirds of the states to pass it before it can move forward. That means it needs 34 of the states to vote in favor. Currently, it has 28 in support.