Indiana balanced budget referendum passes with ease

INDIANAPOLIS (Fort Wayne’s NBC) – A ballot measure amends the state’s constitution and applies pressure on lawmakers to balance the budget has passed with heavy support.

“yes” vote supported the amendment to require the Indiana state legislature to enact a balanced budget for each biennial budget period.

“no” vote opposed this amendment to require the legislature to enact a balanced budget for each biennial budget period.

Some voters had not heard much about the measure prior to voting.

Cindi Baker, who voted early in the Rousseau Centre in downtown Fort Wayne, was caught off guard by Public Question 1.

“I didn’t know it was coming, and then I had to read it more than one time, because I really didn’t understand what it was saying,” Baker said.

The long-time head of the Indiana State Senate, David Long of Fort Wayne, will be leaving office soon, but he had a hand in crafting the language for the public question.

Long says Indiana’s finances now are in good shape, but he says 20 years ago, that wasn’t the case.

“We were deep in the hole, deficit spending, and it put the state in a terrible position, so the thinking is we shouldn’t be one of only four states in the country that doesn’t have strong mandatory balanced budget language,” Long said.

The Indiana Business Journal reported the amendment would prohibit the Indiana General Assembly from adopting a budget that spends more than the state earns. However, it allows an emergency clause that would let lawmakers suspend it if necessary.

Lawmakers would need to make up for any shortfalls in subsequent budgets.

Jonathan Shelley

Jonathan Shelley

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