LIMA — A balanced federal budget is discussed frequently but very little is done about it. State Representative Matt Huffman said he is stepping up to force the issue as a member of the Assembly of State Legislators.
“This is the worst crisis we have had since the Civil War,” Huffman said of the mounting federal debt. He explained that the debt of $5 trillion just 10 years ago has now grown to $17 trillion.
Huffman said it is time to force a balanced budget. He explained that the balanced budget amendment may be unique in its circumstances. The U.S. Constitution allows for the Constitution to be changed in two ways. Amendments may be adopted and sent to the states for ratification by either a two-thirds supermajority of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives of the United States Congress, or by a national convention assembled at the request of the legislatures of at least two-thirds, or 34, of the states. The current is to take the latter route, which has never been used to make a constitutional amendment. Ohio became the 20th state to ask for a state convention in November of last year and there are now a total of 24 states that have called for conventions.
To become part of the Constitution, an amendment must be ratified by either three-fourths, or 38, of state legislatures, or state-ratifying conventions in three-fourths, or 38, of the states.
Huffman said this process was close once during Ronald Reagan’s tenure, when 32 states had declared for conventions. Since then, eight of those states had repealed those conventions.
Huffman said it is an effort to permanently change how the federal government is operating. He said it isn’t always a popular opinion because people lose money. He said many government programs are designed to keep perpetuating themselves because of financial gain.
While Huffman said it was unfair to claim the current administration or Congress is solely to blame for the budget problems because of the way federal government is set up, he also said President Barack Obama would end ranking among the worst presidents of all time. He said that was why the process of limiting spending by the federal government needed to be done dispassionately.
“We are in the position where we are taking money out of trust funds like Social Security and saying we will pay it back later,” Huffman said. In the next four or five years we need to balance the budget or the country will go bankrupt.”
Huffman said many have said debt spending is not that much of a problem, but he differed on that opinion.
“When you are in debt by borrowing money for something like a mortgage, you have a piece of property that is worth more than your mortgage,” Huffman said. “It is a different case with the federal government. There is no going bankrupt and starting over.”
Huffman said since the Assembly of State Legislators is comprised of elected officials, he will no longer be a member of the group’s operating committees at the end of the year due to being term-limited out of office. However, he said he was considering a run for 12th Senate District seat in two years, and would likely rejoin the organization if elected. He said in the meantime, he would be available as a “foot soldier” for the group.