WASHINGTON - Local and national taxes and government spending are one of the top issues for residents in the Town of Palm Beach. U.S. Senator George LeMieux (R-FL), who is serving out the term of retired Senator Mel Martinez, spoke last week on the floor of the U.S. Senate about his proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring Congress to balance the federal budget. The proposed amendment also provides the President of the United States with the power of a line-item veto in order to reduce or eliminate earmark projects. Below is Senator LeMieux's letter to taxpayers in Florida:

Dear Floridian:

I'm writing because I want to keep you informed about efforts to control Washington spending.

Our nation is more than $12 trillion in debt, which means every family in the United States is responsible for about $100,000. Federal spending shows no signs of slowing. For the government's fiscal year that concluded on September 30, we ended with $1.4 trillion in new debt. In the first two months of this fiscal year, we've accumulated $296 billion in new debt and we spent $565 billion - double what we took in.

Because spending is out of control, I have introduced an idea that Florida and most other states already apply to their annual budgets. Wednesday, I spoke on the floor of the Senate about a proposal I introduced this week, a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Washington spending is out of control. Congress does not have the will to balance the budget. We need the full force of the Constitution to require Washington to rein in spending. Balancing the budget requires leadership and tough choices. We need to slow the growth of our debt, start paying off our debt, and actually produce a balanced budget for America.

My amendment also includes giving the president the power of a line-item veto. Future generations should not have to shoulder the burden of Washington's fiscal irresponsibility. The line-item veto will encourage lower spending, improve good governance and accountability.

The constitutional amendment includes allowing the debt limit to be increased by a three-fifths majority in each house and requires that all tax increases be approved by a majority of lawmakers in each chamber by a rollcall vote. The amendment also prevents Congress from sending the President a bill or joint resolution that calls for spending in advisory language, which would make it unable to be vetoed.