Friday, October 12, 2018

Trick Question

     In the upcoming elections, there's a Public Question on the Indiana ballot:

     "Shall Article 10, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended to require the General Assembly to adopt balanced budgets for state government that do not exceed estimated revenues unless a supermajority of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the members of the Senate vote to suspend the requirement?"

     Hey, sounds pretty good, right?  Sure -- except Art. 10, Sect. 5 currently reads:

     "No law shall authorize any debt to be contracted, on behalf of the State, except in the following cases: to meet casual deficits in the revenue; to pay the interest on the State Debt; to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or, if hostilities be threatened, provide for the public defense."

     It just says No.  Unless there's fighting in the streets or it's a penny-ante loan, N O.  There's no supermajority-sure-borrow-money exception.

     We should keep it that way.  Vote NO on the Public Question. Our Legislature had that kind of power once, and bankrupted the state.


Rob K said...

After reading the ballotpedia entry I'm not so sure. I think I like everything else that it adds to the constitution. There's nothing in the constitution currently that prevents them from passing an unbalanced budget, and then "to meet casual deficits in the revenue;" looks like an escape clause to me to allow them to borrow money to cover the difference after the fact.

Roberta X, remotely said...

They cannot deliberately put themselves in debt. "Casual" is generally read in this context as "small and unforeseen." This change would be a huge mistake.

Chuck Pergiel said...

Saw a great political sign on someone's front lawn in Portland the other day: "VOTE NO" was all it said.

Paul said...

I can get behind vote no

Govt big and small is too big by half

Jeffrey Smith said...

My usual attitude to these things is that someone is trying to slip something past the voters. Florida has a passel of grab bag amendments this time. The only one I intend to vote yes on is the one restoring voting rights to felons who have served their term. The current system amounts to whether the governor thinks you have a nice face, result being that few get their rights restored.
There is also one that claims to limit lobbying by former public officials. I have to look into that and see who actually benefits.

Fuzzy Curmudgeon said...

I said yesterday that I habitually vote NO on all Public Questions. There is little wrong with the Indiana Constitution as written. Bobbi has already pointed out that the party currently in power has supermajorities in both legislative houses and is likely up to some chicanery.

Public Questions rarely appear unless someone stands to benefit, and it’s usually not the public. Just Vote No.