- Associated Press - Thursday, March 26, 2015

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined Maine Gov. Paul LePage and lawmakers Thursday at the Statehouse, where he urged them to support his effort to force the federal government to balance its budget.

Kasich wants Maine to join 27 states that have approved resolutions petitioning Congress to call a convention with the goal of amending the U.S. Constitution to require a balanced budget. Without a balanced budget requirement, Washington’s debt will continue to grow, the potential 2016 candidate said.

“We need to change that culture of that town,” Kasich said.

Kasich has been making the push for a balanced budget amendment in Legislatures across the country as he considers whether to join the race for president next year. He says his balanced budget effort is gaining momentum with only 7 more states needed to trigger a convention.

Kasich has support from LePage and legislative Republicans in Maine, including Senate President Michael Thibodeau, who plans to introduce a resolution for lawmakers to consider this session.

But the effort is unlikely to gain much traction from Democrats, who control the House of Representatives. House Speaker Mark Eves of North Berwick called it a “political gimmick.”

“Right now, the legislature should focus on creating good jobs and strong wages in our state, not playing presidential politics,” Eves said in a statement.

If a constitutional convention formed, 38 states must agree for an amendment to be ratified. A convention hasn’t been held since 1787, when the constitution was first created.

Critics say Kasich’s effort is dangerous because it would open the door for states to propose whatever amendments they want to the constitution.

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