Indiana residents voted a resounding “yes” to a constitutional amendment that requires lawmakers to pass balanced budgets.
A count reported by the Associated Press shows more than 72 percent of Hoosiers approved the measure Tuesday, which appeared as the first question on statewide ballots.
For every biennial budget period, which appropriates funding for two years, the legislature cannot spend more than the estimated revenue for the state within that same budget period. This rule can only be overturned by a two-thirds vote in the legislature, per the rules of the amendment.
Additionally, the constitutional change requires all court-ordered budgets to also be approved by the legislature and pension amounts for public employees to be determined by actuarial calculations, though the latter rule has been in place for several years, according to the Indiana Public Retirement System.
Critics of the amendment mostly refer to it as an unnecessary measure, given that the state already is barred from passing a two-year budget that takes on debt.
Passage of the next budget will be a key issue in the 2019 legislative session that begins in January.
Erica Irish is a reporter for TheStatehouseFile.com, a news website powered by Franklin College journalism students.