Maryland Democratic State Senator Jim Clark was a founder of the Article V Balanced Budget Amendment movement in 1975. Democratic Maryland may have been the first State to pass a BBA Resolution. Working with the National Taxpayers Union, Clark traveled the country promoting the cause, and was as responsible as anyone for getting 30 Resolutions passed in just four years. It was bipartisan, Democrats and Republicans working together for a common cause. But that was long ago.
Now “Common Cause” is leading the charge for rescission in Maryland. (Who, exactly, is common to their cause?) A floor vote on the rescission Resolution is set for Tuesday, and the Democrats in the State Senate hold its fate in their hands. As the Democratic Party seeks to redefine itself after six years of steep decline, do they really want to be the political party that opposes balancing the budget? 65% of Democratic voters favor a BBA. Why won’t they listen?
If they think a rescission will stop this movement they are all wrong. We have three States in reserve. Even if New Mexico and Nevada rescinded, we can still get to 34 without having to pass in a legislative chamber controlled by Democrats.
And when we do get to 34, and have an Amendment Convention, and propose a Constitutional Amendment to balance the budget, we will have to be candid about how this was finally accomplished. What started out, with Jim Clark, over 40 years ago, as a bipartisan movement, became trench warfare — Republicans fighting Democrats every step of the way toward balancing the budget. No elected Democrat in the country did anything to help. Do the Democrats really want to be the party opposed to balancing the budget? Why don’t they try something completely different, like arguing against massive budget deficits and a ballooning debt?
Special Agent Loren Enns was in Cheyenne for third and final passage today, and prevented a disaster. Five of our votes were off the floor, and we weren’t going to hit the needed 16. So Loren got a continuance until Monday, when the votes will be there. Wyoming would be 29, but that may only last a day if Maryland rescinds. Just more work to do.
The big positive news is from Idaho, where we passed out of Senate State Affairs, 5-4. If we were going to lose Idaho, we were going to lose in this, Sen. Bart Davis’ committee. Former United States Senator Larry Craig, Greg Casey, and Georgia’s finest, Dave Guldenschuh testified on our behalf. President of the Senate Little provided the winning vote.
It may not have been an easy vote. My understanding is that the room was full of Birchers, of which there are a lot in Idaho, especially in the panhandle. It’s going to take a while, and plenty of work, but Idaho is looking very strong. Speaker Bedke is as strong an advocate of the BBA as any legislator in the country.
CoS is now 0-5 in the five State Senates where they had a floor vote, losing in Utah today. I don’t think they’re blaming us for that one. Everyone is doing what is necessary to assure everyone involved that the BBA Task Force, and no one associated with it, did anything to discourage voting for CoS in the Arizona Senate. To say that our lobbyist did, is to impugn his professional integrity, which I’m sure he doesn’t appreciate, and will straighten out in no time.