LIMA, Ohio (WTVN) -- Ohio's governor, Speaker of the House, and Senate President have all signed a letter to leaders in Congress urging them to back a constitutional amendment that would require the federal budget be balanced.

"The pressure on the Congress that is created by special interest groups without the requirement of a balanced budget allows a free-for-all in spending," said Gov. John Kasich.

Kasich repeated his claim that Ohio has an $8 billion budget deficit when he took office, but it was balanced with tough decisions.

"Had we not had a state balanced budget requirement, I don't believe we would have balanced our budget," he said.

In addition to the letter to Congress, Kasich says he'll write a similar letter to the governors of the 49 other states urging them to push for a balanced budget requirement for the federal budget.

It would take 38 states to call for a constitutional convention, though Congress could act on their own first. Any changes would have to be ratified by 38 states.

"49 states are required to balance their budget. You're required to balance your budgets at home. Your businesses are required to balance their budget. In the last five years we've had seven additional countries require that their country have a balanced budget," said Congressman Steve Stivers, a Republican from Columbus at the signing ceremony in Lima. He has co-sponsored a bill in Congress on the issue.

Kasich was the chairman of the budget committee the last time Congress balanced the budget.