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Resolutions & Amendments

30th International Convention - Las Vegas, NV (1992)

Opposition to a Constitutional Amendment to Require a Balanced Budget

Resolution No. 133
30th International Convention
June 15-19, 1992
Las Vegas, NV


It has been determined by economic and constitutional experts that every state would suffer severe economic distress by 1995 — including a sharp drop in jobs and personal income — under a Balanced Budget Amendment to the United States Constitution; and


Federal aid to state and local governments has declined more than 40 percent since 1981 at the same time the federal government has placed greater responsibility on state and local governments for delivery of employment services, health care, education, income security and social services; and


The failure of the federal government to provide adequate funding for federal/state-shared programs has meant severe cutbacks in such programs; and


Under such an amendment many states could anticipate a loss of between $10 - $30 billion in personal income in one year, and many states would have 100,000 fewer jobs in 1995 alone, increasing the already unacceptable unemployment rate; and


State and local governments, which are already in fiscal crisis, would see their level of deficits triple by 1995 to $67 billion, federal taxes would dig deeper into both individuals' and businesses' pockets, personal tax collections would be 19.3 percent higher and corporate tax collections would be 15 percent higher, Social Security taxes would rise, while payments to individuals would fall, resulting in 3.4 million fewer jobs by 1995; and


A Balanced Budget Amendment would damage the U.S. Constitution by inserting into our national charter a fiscal declaration irrelevant to its basic purpose of protecting individual rights and allocating the federal powers among the three branches of government and between the nation and the States; and


A Balanced Budget Amendment would threaten the nation's judicial system by requiring court intervention in disputes on economic policy and spending authority; and


A constitutional amendment would place in serious jeopardy the "good faith and credit" of the United States, as all national and international federally guaranteed loan programs would be placed in jeopardy of default; and


A Balanced Budget Amendment would fiscally straitjacket government, at a time when this country must provide needed investment to reverse its economic decline and rebuild America's human and physical infrastructure;


That AFSCME reaffirm its support for resolving the federal deficit crisis through the institution of an adequate and equitable federal tax system, reductions in defense spending, reform of our health care system and adequate funding of federal housing, health, welfare, nutrition, education, drug and other essential domestic programs; and


That AFSCME reaffirm its strong opposition to any Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, particularly in light of the devastating effects such an amendment would have on the United States economy as well as on the economics of the individual states and local governments of the nation; and


That AFSCME urge Congress and the Administration to take genuine steps to begin reducing the budget deficit rather than resort to ineffective political gestures such as a balanced budget amendment that would not achieve the claimed results.