The groundwork for an Article V Convention of States is being laid. The Arizona Balanced Budget Amendment Planning Convention began Tuesday in Phoenix to create rules of procedure for a future convention to propose a balanced budget amendment.
Pursuant to Article V of the U.S. Constitution, states can force Congress to call a convention for proposing constitutional amendments if two-thirds (34) of the state legislatures request one. Many see a constitutional requirement as the only means of reining in the excessive government spending in Washington, D.C. — contributing to the now-$20 trillion national debt — and so far, 27 states (all controlled by Republicans) have passed a balanced budget resolution.
"I don't think people realize the states have the power and authority to use this," Arizona state Rep. Kelly Townsend — chairwoman of the Arizona delegation and one of the event organizers — told the Arizona Republic. "The states are the closest to the people and we know what we're doing.”
Potential provisions of a balanced budget amendment being discussed in Phoenix include a two-thirds vote requirement for Congress to raise taxes, and the consent of a majority of state governments before Congress can raise the debt ceiling.