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Michigan Senate passes bill pushing for a federal balanced budget requirement

Sep 17, 2015

Credit Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

Updated 5:40 p.m.

The state Senate has approved a bill that would enter Michigan into a compact of states calling for a federal balanced budget requirement in the U.S. Constitution.

The bill passed on a party-line vote.

Supporters of Senate Bill 306 say something needs to be done about a national debt that’s approaching $20 trillion.

“That is a ticking time bomb for our economy and for our kids and our grandkids,” said state Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof, R-West Olive.

“I just don’t believe and neither does a lot of the economists feel that we can continue on that runaway spending plan,” said state Sen. Mike Green, R-Mayville, who introduced the legislation.

“And without the growth of the nation and just keep spending, we’re going to spend ourselves into oblivion.”

Democrats point out the state relies on federal dollars to balance its own budget.

“If we’re saying we’re not going to take billions of federal dollars when they pony up next year at the budget time, then I’ll think it’s a more serious conversation – or when they decide what trillions of dollars in taxes we’re going to raise to balance the budget,” said state Senate Democratic Leader Jim Ananich, D-Flint.

Under the bill, Michigan would join more than 20 other states in a compact supporting the amendment. It would take 34 states to spark a constitutional convention to take it up.

Lawmakers approved a similar measure last year. But supporters say the new bill is needed to better match what other states have passed.

It now goes to the state House.