Skip to main content
Resolutions & Amendments

41st International Convention - Chicago, IL (2014)

Balanced Budget Amendment

Resolution No. 20
41st International Convention
McCormick Place
July 14 - 18, 2014
Chicago, IL


            Radical, right-wing ideologues, including members of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), are encouraging state legislators around the country to call for a constitutional convention to amend the United States Constitution to require a balanced federal budget; and


            More than 20 states have already adopted resolutions calling for a constitutional convention.  Article V of the United States Constitution enables states to call for a convention, if 34 states adopt resolutions calling for one. Under some interpretations of a state’s ability to rescind past resolutions, that threshold may have already been met; and


            As further evidence of the cynical, anti-democratic nature of the campaign to pass resolutions in state legislatures to call for a constitutional convention, leaders of the effort are seeking to block consideration of any other issues at such a convention, such as campaign finance reform, that would reduce the disproportionate influence of corporations and the wealthy in our democracy; and


            A balanced budget requirement would force deep cuts to grants that fund state and local governments and nonprofit service organizations, killing jobs that employ hundreds of thousands of AFSCME members; and


            A balanced budget requirement would result in much longer and deeper recessions and would cause millions more jobs to be lost during normal economic downturns, because the federal budget for food stamps, unemployment insurance and health care would have to be cut just as Americans need those safety net services most urgently; and


            A balanced budget requirement would result in cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other earned benefits upon which tens of millions of Americans depend; and



            The federal deficit, which spiked during the Great Recession in 2009, has dropped by more than half since then, and economists caution that weakness in the economy–not government deficits–is the greater threat to our nation’s prosperity and economic security; and


            The continued calls for budgetary austerity, which already has led to sequestration and a federal government shutdown and has weakened the economic recovery, are motivated by an ideological desire to cut public services and the functions of government that protect working families from abuse and exploitation by powerful interests.


            AFSCME continues to oppose efforts to call for a constitutional convention to require a balanced budget amendment for the federal government; and


            AFSCME will work with allies to educate members, lawmakers and the broader public that the supposed concern for budget deficits uttered by ALEC and other right-wing groups is an insincere and cynical attempt to cut public services and weaken government’s ability to protect working families; and


            AFSCME and its allies will work together to warn the public that a balanced budget requirement will cause deep harm to public services and our economy and will worsen economic and social injustice in our country.


Michelle Mason, President
Jennifer Hargreaves, Secretary-Treasurer
AFSCME Council 72