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What's the Price Tag of Article V?

Everything government does has a price tag. Organizing a convention of states under Article V of the U.S. Constitution is no different.

Shouldn't taxpayers and policy makers know what that price tag is?

We think so.

After an exhaustive study of fifteen state constitutional conventions held during the 1960s and 70s, we have concluded that the three major Article V "convention of the states" efforts likely have the following price tags:

  • Convention of States = $52.5 to $191.2 million

  • BBA Task Force = $52.5 million

  • Compact for America = $791,500

Yes, that's right. The estimated cost of a Compact for America-style Article V convention is one-fiftieth of the estimated cost of a legacy topic-limited convention.

Splitting the difference on the Convention of States' estimate, and here's what that breakdown looks like in graphic form:

More than fifty Compact for America-style "Article V 2.0" conventions

separately proposing more than fifty different amendments could be organized for less than the cost of a single legacy-approach Article V convention.

We also discovered that the greatest risk of organizing a "convention of states" is not so much a runaway convention, but rather a "do nothing" convention!

  • State constitutional conventions of the 1960s and 70s were most successful when they were targeted to specific reforms.

  • State constitutional conventions with broad or wide-open agendas often achieved little or nothing at significant taxpayer expense.

The bottom line is that our research shows that the Compact for America approach to organizing an Article V convention promises the biggest bang for the taxpayer buck - precisely because it is limited to a 24 hour up-or-down vote on proposing a specific federal Balanced Budget Amendment.


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