-- Voters this year are being asked whether they support an amendment to the
Indiana Constitution obligating the General Assembly to adopt balanced
budgets unless two-thirds of the members of both chambers vote to suspend
Public Question No.
1 goes before the voters in the Nov. 6 election after it cleared two
separate General Assemblies as a resolution. It was first proposed by Vice
President Mike Pence when he was Indiana’s governor in his 2015 State of the
Rep. Todd Huston,
R-Fishers, who sponsored the resolution in the Indiana House, said the
amendment should be approved because it “limits the amount of gimmicks that
can be played” with the state budget, such as not funding pension
responsibilities and bonding responsibilities, “so that what we’re bringing
in and what we’re spending is truly balanced.”
"We’ve held to that
standard in recent years,” Huston said.
Huston pointed out
the resolution received overwhelming support from lawmakers.
State Sen. Karen
Tallian, D-Portage, was one of just four senators who voted against the
amendment last year, but not because she’s opposed to balanced budgets.
“I think we should
have a balanced budget. We’ve always had a balanced budget. ... We already
have a provision in the constitution that says we can’t go into debt,”
already largely bans the state from incurring debt, except in times of war.
Under the amendment, the General Assembly would be required to pass a
balanced budget unless supermajorities of two-thirds of the members of each
chamber vote to suspend the requirement.
Tallian said the
constitution adopted in 1851 should not be tinkered with.
“I have never ever
voted for any constitutional amendment because I don’t think we need to mess
around with the constitution. I’m probably the most conservative and most
consistent person in the Senate on that issue,” Tallian said.
electorate last voted to amend the constitution just two years ago when it
approved a provision to protect the right to hunt and fish.