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Opinion

Message to Washington: Balance your budgets

1/2/2014 - South Side Leader
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By Anthony DeVitis

Ohio recently became part of a movement that continues to pick up momentum nationally.

No matter how much we hear from Washington about the need to bring our federal budgets more in balance, one constant remains: The national debt continues to grow. It now exceeds $17 trillion. Despite the serious problem that a massively expanding debt presents, it just continues to climb.

Just the 2013 budget deficit alone was about $680 billion, which is actually an improvement from the previous four years. But when $680 billion in the red is viewed as a step in the right direction, you know we are in some trouble.

Last month, legislators from the Ohio House and Senate, as well as the governor, met in Lima to sign a resolution expressing Ohio’s support for the U.S. Constitution to be amended to include a balanced budget amendment. Specifically, if 34 states in all support a similar resolution, Congress would be forced to schedule and organize a constitutional convention. After the resolution passed through the House and Senate, Ohio became the 20th state to support such a resolution. So the movement is more than halfway there.

At the convention, delegates from each state would meet to hash out the details of the amendment. Once language is agreed upon, it would require the approval of at least 38 states to be ratified.

If such an amendment were included in the Constitution, there would obviously have to be discussion and debate about how exactly the budget should be balanced. This includes tough decisions about spending cuts or tax increases. But these are debates that should be ignored no longer. Continuously mounting debt onto our future generations is irresponsible and dangerous.

Our nation’s founders understood the important role that states played in preserving the country. They put in place a method by which the states, through the process I explained earlier, could affect change. None of our 27 amendments have been passed in this fashion, but I believe it is the right thing to do. The good news is, in fact, that if states continue their pressure on the federal government for this cause, the federal government might join the fight and move forward on the measure on its own.

Balancing budgets is not a foreign concept for families or states. It shouldn’t be foreign to Washington either.

 

State Rep. Anthony DeVitis (R-District 36) may be reached by calling 614-466-1790, emailing Rep36@ohiohouse.gov or writing to: state Rep. Anthony DeVitis, 77 S. High St., Columbus, OH 43215. District 36 includes Coventry, Green and Springfield.

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