The Michigan Senate is currently working on a bill to prepare itself for a potential Constitutional Convention . This is the summary of the bill sponsored by Senator Mike Green:
Senate Bill 306 (as introduced 4-29-15)
Sponsor: Senator Mike Green
Committee: Elections and Government Reform
Date Completed: 5-13-15
The bill would enact the "Compact for a Balanced Budget", which would do the following:
-- Resolve that the legislature of each Member State apply to Congress to call a convention on the ratification of the Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA), when at least three-fourths of the states became members of the Compact.
-- Petition Congress to refer the BBA to the states for ratification by three-fourths of their legislatures, when at least three-fourths of the states became Member States.
-- Provide that each Member State would adopt and ratify the Balanced Budget Amendment, after Congress referred the BBA to the states for ratification under Article V of the U.S. Constitution.
-- Provide that the agenda of the convention would be exclusively limited to introducing, debating, voting on, and rejecting or proposing for ratification the Balanced Budget Amendment.
-- Establish rules of the convention.
-- Provide that each Member State would be entitled to one delegate at the convention.
-- Establish the Compact Commission and provide for a Compact Administrator.
(Under Article 5 of the U.S. Constitution, Congress must call a convention to propose amendments to the Constitution if required by a two-thirds majority of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, or upon the application of two-thirds of the state legislatures. Any proposed amendment then must be ratified by the legislatures of three-fourths of the states or at conventions in three-fourths of the states.)
Balanced Budget Amendment Language
As defined in the Compact, the Balanced Budget Amendment would contain the following language:
Section 1. Total outlays of the government of the United States shall not exceed total receipts of the government of the United States at any point in time unless the excess of outlays over receipts is financed exclusively by debt issued in strict conformity with this article.
Section 2. Outstanding debt shall not exceed authorized debt, which initially shall be an amount equal to 105 percent of the outstanding debt on the
effective date of this article. Authorized debt shall not be increased above its aforesaid initial amount unless such increase is first approved by the legislatures of the several states as provided in Section 3.
Section 3. From time to time, Congress may increase authorized debt to an amount in excess of its initial amount set by Section 2 only if it first publicly refers to the legislature of the several states an unconditional, single object measure proposing the amount of such increase…and the measure is thereafter publicly and unconditionally approved by a simple majority of the legislatures of the several states…; provided that no inducement requiring an expenditure or tax levy shall be demanded, offered or accepted as a quid pro quo or such approval. If such approval is not obtained within 60 calendar days after referral then the measure shall be deemed disapproved and the authorized debt shall thereby remain unchanged.
Section 4. Whenever the outstanding debt exceeds 98 percent of the debt limit set by Section 2, the President shall enforce said limit by publicly designating specific expenditures for impoundment in an amount sufficient to ensure outstanding debt shall not exceed the authorized limit…The failure of the President to designate or enforce the required impoundment is an impeachable misdemeanor. Any purported issuance or incurrence of any debt in excess of the debt limit set by Section 2 is void.
Section 5. No bill that provides for a new or increased general revenue tax shall become law unless approved by a two-thirds roll call of the whole number of each House of Congress. However, this requirement shall not apply to any bill that provides for a new end user sales tax which would completely replace every existing income tax levied by the government of the United States; or for the reduction or elimination of an exemption, deduction, or credit allowed under an existing general revenue tax.
"SB 306 is very bad for America because it does nothing to control federal spending and it permits Congress to impose a national sales tax or VAT tax on Americans in addition to keeping the income tax.
How SB 306 permits Congress to impose a national sales tax or VAT tax on top of the income tax:
Section 5 permits Congress, by a 2/3 vote of each House, to impose a new or increased "general revenue tax". Section 6 defines "general revenue tax" as "any income tax, sales tax, or value-added tax". So! Congress may vote to impose a national sales or VAT tax. Nothing requires the repeal of the income tax before a national sales or VAT tax is imposed if 2/3 of each House agree.
Section 5 also permits Congress, by a simple majority of each House, to impose a "new end user sales tax" which would replace the federal income tax. But nothing requires Congress to impose a "new end user sales tax" to replace the income tax.
So, it will be up to Congress to decide whether to impose a new sales or VAT tax on top of the existing income tax (if they get 2/3 vote of each House); or whether to
impose a new end user sales tax to replace the income tax (if they get only a simple majority in each House).
Congress will be able to revisit this issue as many times as it takes to get the 2/3 vote in each House.
How SB 306 does nothing to control federal spending:
Section 1 allows Congress to spend as much as they take from us in taxes or add to the national debt! But that's what they've been doing - adding to the national debt.
Sections 2 & 3 are a sham because they permit Congress to raise the debt whenever 26 States agree. States are already addicted to federal funds. Will 25 States agree that they don't want more federal funds? In our dreams!
Section 4 is a joke: Who seriously believes the Congress will impeach a President for refusing to "impound" an appropriation made by Congress?
There is a better way than a BBA:
Let's downsize the federal government to its enumerated powers. Most of what the federal government does is unconstitutional as outside the scope of powers delegated to it. The States are supposed to be handling these matters!
Furthermore, our Constitution already limits federal spending to the enumerated powers. "