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Voters to decide amendment to Ind.'s constitution

CHECKING IN: Poll worker Doyle Rogers, right, helps a voter check in during Friday’s early voting hours inside the courthouse.

By Katharine Calabro - kcalabro@ftimes.com

As Election Day approaches, Hoosiers are deciding whether to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the public question on the ballot.

The question asks voters whether or not they would like to amend the State of Indiana’s Constitution in reference to the budget. Currently the question reads as stated:

“Shall Article 10, Section 5 of the Constitution of the State of Indiana be amended to require the General Assembly to adopt balanced budgets for state government that do not exceed estimated revenues unless a supermajority of two-thirds of the members of the House of Representatives and two-thirds of the members of the Senate vote to suspend the requirement?”

Voting on the balanced budget amendment means the general assembly can’t spend more money than the state is expected to make.

Because the constitution currently prohibits the state from going into debt, some local democrats are finding the question unnecessary.

For Clinton County Democratic Party Treasurer John Meyer the change isn’t needed.

“We’re already covered,” he said. “It doesn’t do the things the legislature hasn’t already been doing.”

Clinton County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Newhart agrees a balanced budget is necessary and is part of living within means. However, he said he is opposed to checking ‘yes’ on the ballot.

Newhart said he fears that rewriting this amendment would give the state the opportunity to move money to the supermajority without having to increase their taxes.

“I don’t think it would benefit the people properly,” he said. “The individuals tax has been over the forecasted revenue. It’s where the budget is lacking where they forecasted the revenue from the corporate tax; not from the personal income tax.”

Because of this, Newhart said he’s afraid of money being recapped and taxed, which he says could mean less money for hardworking Hoosiers.

For Frankfort Mayor Chris McBarnes, selecting ‘yes’ on the ballot will only strengthen the state of Indiana. He said being conservative fiscally leads to more jobs, and he thinks by voting ‘yes’ to a balanced budget will help attract high-paying careers to the state.

“What happened in 2008, we are not immune to that happening again, but we’re not too far off,” McBarnes said. “I think shielding against any type of deficit should another recession come puts our state in a very solid position.”

As voters continue to raise questions over the issue, resources are available online for those interested in what the public question could mean for the state.