Why a Balanced Budget Convention alone won’t work

Here is a case in point.  The state of Illinois has an, albeit crude, Balanced Budget section of its constitution:

Under Article VIII, Section 2, it says:

SECTION 2. STATE FINANCE
    (a)  The Governor shall prepare and submit to the General
Assembly, at a time prescribed by law, a State budget for the
ensuing fiscal year. The budget shall set forth the estimated
balance of funds available for appropriation at the beginning
of the fiscal year, the estimated receipts, and a plan for
expenditures and obligations during the fiscal year of every
department, authority, public corporation and quasi-public
corporation of the State, every State college and university,
and every other public agency created by the State, but not
of units of local government or school districts. The budget
shall also set forth the indebtedness and contingent
liabilities of the State and such other information as may be
required by law. Proposed expenditures shall not exceed funds
estimated to be available for the fiscal year as shown in the
budget.
    (b)  The General Assembly by law shall make
appropriations for all expenditures of public funds by the
State. Appropriations for a fiscal year shall not exceed
funds estimated by the General Assembly to be available
during that year.
(Source: Illinois Constitution.)

However, according to Illinois Policy , the state had been balanced only 15 of the 41 years between 1970 and 2000 and 2010 (and I don’t think they’ve had one since) and the last  time they had a balanced budget was in 2001.   To try and stop it from “going too far out of hand”, the state has tried increasing taxes and other things.    All that’s done is make thing worse and let the pension crisis get worse and worse.   Since Bruce Rauner took office, there has been an impasse between him and the Democrat majority state legislature, leading to now 2 years with only stop gap budgets.   The people don’t want more taxes and the legislature is too unwilling to make the necessary actions and cuts.   (Hopefully, cooler heads prevail, because, unlike DC, the states can’t just print money to “make it all go away”.)

It is likely that, were just a BBA convention alone be called, that the issues mentioned above with Illinois would play out at the national level, thus not solving the problems plaguing our country.

 

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