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Sunday, April 21, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Eye On Boise

Testimony: ‘It doesn’t work,’ ‘Anything can happen,’ ‘Runaway convention’

More than a dozen people have testified to the Senate State Affairs Committee so far this morning, all against SCR 108, the resolution calling on Idaho to petition for an Article V constitutional convention for the purpose of enacting a balanced budget amendment. Among them:

Todd Hatfield of Eagle said, “The assault on the debt crisis is not going to be found in a balanced budget amendment.” He said Utah has a balanced budget amendment but has debt, as does Ohio. Idaho also has debt despite its balanced budget requirement, Hatfield said. “So it doesn’t work.”

James Vandermaas of Eagle told the senators, “This clearly, from the testimony we’ve heard, isn’t just about a balanced budget, it’s also an attack on entitlements.” He said entitlements like Social Security and Medicare are “something that everybody’s invested in.” He added, “Sen. Craig did mention that under the Clinton Administration, there was compromise for three years in a row and they got a balanced budget. And it didn’t take a balanced budget amendment. … It’s been done. … The danger of creating a constitutional convention is that anything can happen.”

Michael Law of Kuna said, “It is we the people that are the experts on the Constitution, it is we the people that are your sovereign, and therefore you should be listening to us instead of the so-called experts.” He said, “Unfortunately, under Article V, it will be another runaway convention.” He also asked who would enforce a balanced budget amendment, noting that his local school district takes on debt through bond issues despite Idaho’s state balanced-budget requirement.

Karleen Davis of Boise said, “I share your goal of reining in federal spending … but this resolution will not help, in my opinion, to accomplish this and it will open this great country to enormous risk.”

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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