By Mr. Speaker, Mr. Chambers, and Delegates Kiss, Mezzatesta, Michael, J. Martin, Prezioso, Rowe and Staton:
H. C. R. 19--"
Memorializing Congress to provide full information about the effect of a proposed Balanced Budget Amendment on the people and government of West Virginia before submitting it to the Legislature for ratification."
Whereas, The Constitution of the United States of America is the most perfect example of a contract between a people and their government; and
Whereas, Any amendment to the Constitution should be made only with the greatest respect for its integrity and with a full understanding of the consequences; and
Whereas, The Congress of the United States is currently considering an amendment to the Constitution, known as the Balanced Budget Amendment; and
Whereas, The House of Representatives has already approved a version of such a Balanced Budget Amendment; and
Whereas, The House of Representatives approved its version without obtaining a projection of how it would be implemented; and
Whereas, The House of Representatives rejected a version of the Balanced Budget Amendment, offered by Representative Bob Wise of West Virginia, that would have protected against cuts in Social Security and would have allowed for both a capital and operating budget; and
Whereas, The proposal for a Balanced Budget Amendment is now under active consideration in the United States Senate; and
Whereas, United States Senators Robert C. Byrd and John D. Rockefeller IV of West Virginia have called for a "right to know" provision, so that the Senators would know before they vote how a balanced budget would be achieved; and
Whereas, The United States Treasury Department has projected that a Balanced Budget Amendment implemented by across the board cuts would reduce Federal grants to the West Virginia state government by $765 million, requiring the Legislature to increase state taxes to compensate for such losses; and
Whereas, Many citizens of West Virginia would likely suffer from cuts imposed to meet the requirements of the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment, including thousands of our citizens who receive Social Security, veterans benefits, Medicare, Medicaid and other essential benefits; and
Whereas, Through the efforts of Senator Robert C. Byrd and other members of our Congressional delegation, appropriations have been made for numerous projects in West Virginia, including completion of the Appalachian Corridor highway system, relocation of the Federal Bureau of Investigation Center to West Virginia, and a myriad of other projects; and
Whereas, These benefits and projects are vital to the economic development and well-being of the people of our State, and deserve to be protected if the Constitution is amended to require a balanced budget; and
Whereas, West Virginia receives $1.45 in Federal benefits for each dollar in Federal taxes; and
Whereas, On a per capita basis, each man, woman and child receives approximately two thousand dollars more in benefits from the Federal government than he or she pays in Federal taxes; and
Whereas, A proposal to balance the Federal budget by returning the programs to the states would mean that West Virginia would be required to either raise its taxes by two thousand dollars for each man, woman and child, or eliminate the programs and services currently provided to our citizens by Federal funds; and
Whereas, The Balanced Budget Amendment would be submitted to this Legislature for ratification if approved by Congress; and
Whereas, This Legislature will be unable to establish its own budget without knowing what reductions will be made by the Congress to effect the Balanced Budget Amendment; and
Whereas, This Legislature therefore has a right to know what effect the proposed Balanced Budget Amendment would have on state government, but more importantly, on the people of our State; therefore, be it
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Legislature recognizes that a balanced Federal budget is a desirable objective; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Legislature commends the President and the Congress for their efforts toward this objective by supporting and enacting legislation that will result in the reduction of the Federal deficit for three years in a row; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Legislature will be asked to votefor ratification of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, if such a measure is submitted to the states by the Congress; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Legislature, acting on behalf of the citizens of West Virginia in deciding whether to ratify such an amendment, is entitled to be fully informed of its consequences on our people; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Congress is hereby urged to submit such an amendment to the states for ratification only if it provides a detailed projection of what reductions will be made to the Federal budget, and how these will affect the government and people of West Virginia, including, but not limited to, the effect on Social Security benefits, veterans benefits, Medicare, Medicaid, highway moneys, including completion of the Appalachian Corridor system, and other programs necessary for the health and well-being of the people of our state; and, be it
Further Resolved, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates forward copies of this resolution to the President of the United States Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives and each member of the West Virginia delegation to Congress.