INDIANAPOLIS — The General Assembly likely will be constitutionally required, starting next year, to spend less money in Indiana's biennial budget than the state expects to collect in tax revenue.
With more than 30 percent of the vote in Tuesday night, Hoosiers ratified by a wide margin a balanced budget amendment to the Indiana Constitution that enshrines in the state's primary governing document the fiscal discipline already followed for decades by both political parties at the Statehouse.
The amendment mandates state lawmakers approve a balanced budget that fully funds Indiana's pre-paid pension obligations, unless two-thirds of both the House and Senate agree that a fiscal emergency requires state spending in excess of tax collections.
Republican former Gov. Mike Pence, now vice president of the United States, led the call for a balanced budget amendment in 2015 after conservative interest groups and a credit rating agency noted Indiana was among just a few states in the country lacking an explicit constitutional spending limitation.
The proposed amendment overwhelming was approved by the Republican-controlled General Assembly in 2015, and again in 2017, which put Public Question 1 on the ballot for ratification.