Legislators Push Baucus, Tester on Budget

Aaron Flint posted on July 25, 2011 11:49 :: 1514 Views

“Majorities in the Montana House and Senate sent a letter Monday to Montana’s congressional delegation, urging Democratic Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester and  Republican Rep. Denny Rehberg to support a federal balanced budget amendment, according to a news release from Senate Majority Leader Jeff Essmann, R-Billings,” as The Montana Watchdog reports.

Click here to read a full copy of the letter, which includes a list of all co-signers. 

Here’s an excerpt:

Senator Tester, when you were running for the Senate in 2006, you said in a debate that you supported a balanced budget at the federal level just like we have in Montana. Since taking office, though, the national debt has nearly doubled. In four and a half short years since you were sworn in, our debt has increased from about $8.6 trillion to nearly $15 trillion. Unfortunately, we are on pace to add trillions more over the next several years. This must change and we urge you to change course from your previous vote against a balanced budget amendment and instead support such an amendment.

Article VIII, Section 9 of Montana’s 1972 Constitution requires spending not exceed anticipated revenue. This is a sound policy rooted in common sense. Our state legislature and governor were forced to tackle the challenging task of passing a two-year balanced budget. As a result, Montana is one of the few states in the nation that is not facing excessive debt. We must change the tenor of the budget debate and bring more of Montana’s common sense thinking to Washington.

While the letter from legislative Republicans may quickly be discounted by Montana’s Democratic US Senators, it isn’t merely the GOP alone calling for support of a balanced budget amendment. 

In case you missed it last week, George Ochenski penned a column in the liberal Missoula Independent titled “The Half-Mad Tea Party.”

While it’s easy to dismiss the faults of the Tea Party plan, there is one segment that might not only be worth thinking about, it might be worth implementing. That would be the requirement that our nation adopts a Constitutional amendment requiring a balanced budget.

Montana’s Constitution already has a requirement for a balanced budget. It’s exactly one sentence long in Article VIII, Section 9: “Appropriations by the legislature shall not exceed anticipated revenue.” That’s it. And all it means is that our state, like many others, cannot spend the future into bottomless debt by living beyond its means.

History shows that these common-sense requirements for government spending have served Montana and its citizens well. Through all the Republican and Democratic legislatures and governors, our state budgeting process has avoided enormous debts that get passed on to future citizens.

Click here to read the full piece.

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