Indiana News

Lawmakers Await Balanced Budget Details

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (WOWO): Three weeks after Governor Pence called for a balanced budget amendment in his State of the State speech, the text of that amendment has yet to appear.

The deadline to introduce legislation through normal channels is long past, but a constitutional amendment can still be added into one of several shell resolutions, or “vehicles,” reserved each year for late-arising legislation.

Even using that method, legislators have just over two weeks left to get proposals through the first step of the process. Pence acknowledges other states with balanced-budget amendments have found ways to run up red ink anyway.

He says staffers are still working to hammer out an amendment strong enough to prevent that, while still including an escape hatch for genuinely unexpected events. Pence says the guiding principle of the amendment should be to prohibit the state from spending more than collects in a given year.

He says the soundness of the state‘s balance sheet is a foundation of efforts to attract new businesses. An amendment could wait till next year without affecting the timeline — the earliest it could reach voters for final approval would be 2018 either way.

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