The balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution that failed to pass in Congress this year might have met with more success in state legislatures, according to a new survey by LEXIS and the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The survey of 871 state legislators and their staffs, conducted within weeks of the House's narrow defeat of the amendment in June, reveals that nearly two-thirds of the lawmakers would vote to include a balanced budget requirement in the constitution. The figure was 91% among Republicans and 41% among Democrats.
Under constitutional procedures, any amendment approved by a two-thirds vote in Congress must be ratified by three-quarters of the states. Some states require a two-thirds vote to ratify, while others require only a simple majority, according to Susan Seladones, spokeswoman for the legislatures group.
With momentum for the amendment building in Congress, many analysts believe another attempt will be made next year to pass it.
Also in the survey, 70% of state legislators said national officeholders are in danger of losing their jobs in the November election, and a majority of respondents believes that the current system of relying heavily on property taxes to fund public schools is inequitable, and would like to see education funded more by state income taxes.