Jim Brown, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, today commended the General Assembly for passing bipartisan resolutions authorizing state delegates to attend a limited convention of the states to propose a federal balanced budget amendment.
Today, the Tennessee House passed HJR 548 by a vote of 89-2; last week, the Senate passed SJR 493 by a vote of 28-0.
NFIB/Tennessee, the state’s leading small-business association, supported the resolutions and worked closely with sponsors Rep. Dennis Powers (Jacksboro), House Speaker Beth Harwell (Nashville), Sen. Brian Kelsey (Germantown) and others.
“Ninety-one percent of NFIB members want Congress to balance the budget, but federal leaders are not interested or interested enough in acting,” Brown said. “Fortunately, our Founders made sure states had an option under Article V to check federal recklessness or overreach, which Tennessee and other states are utilizing.”
Tennessee is now the 22nd state to authorize a call of such a convention, which is authorized under Article V of the U.S. Constitution. Only 12 more states must act to reach the necessary 34, or two-thirds, to generate a convention call. Any proposed amendment must then be ratified by 38 states.
Brown said compelling testimony in committees demonstrated high thresholds are in place to limit the convention to a single article – proposing a balanced budget amendment resolution.
Delegates will be direct agents of the state legislatures, which can and should recall any who stray and replace them with alternates. In addition, states are enacting “faithful delegate” bills to penalize delegates who drift from the convention’s stated purpose. The Tennessee Senate recently passed such a bill, Senate Bill 1432 sponsored by Sen. Mark Norris (Collierville), 30-1. The House will soon consider House Bill 1379 sponsored by Rep. Kevin Brooks (Cleveland).
“Small businesses remain deeply concerned that runaway spending will continue to weaken our economy, slow hiring and jeopardize growth,” Brown said. “NFIB members will continue to advocate for policies that bolster free enterprise, like a balanced budget, and oppose ongoing reckless government spending and rapidly expanding entitlement programs that threaten long-term economic prospects.”
NFIB/Tennessee has over 8,000 dues-paying members representing a cross section of the state’s economy.