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New governors facing historic budget crisis

Published: Tue, December 21, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.

Associated Press


New York’s incoming governor, Democrat Andrew Cuomo, says he won’t raise taxes even though he will inherit a budget deficit of at least $9 billion when he takes office in January. Ohio Republican Gov.-elect John Kasich is promising to cut taxes, despite a shortfall of about $8 billion.

And in California, incoming Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown — who ardently pursued innovative clean- energy and environmental- protection programs during his first stint in office, in the revenue-rich 1970s and ’80s — will have to figure out this time how to close a budget gap projected at more than $25 billion.

Twenty-six states elected new governors last month — 17 Republicans, eight Democrats and one independent — and now they are going to have to reconcile their principles and campaign promises with some harsh fiscal realities: This is the worst budget climate for the states in at least a generation.

Cumulatively, the states face budget shortfalls of nearly $140 billion next year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a Washington think tank. To make matters worse, billions in aid to states from the federal government’s $800 billion stimulus plan is set to dry up early next year.

The incoming governors face some painful and politically unpopular decisions, with the easy fixes long gone.

Bob Williams of the conservative think tank State Budget Solutions said new governors will be able to take a fresh look at the proper role of state government.

“You have to redesign and refocus state governments around what are the real functions of state government. If it’s not a core function, don’t do it,” he said.

But even that prescription doesn’t give governors much room to maneuver.

A study by the Pew Center on the States and the Public Policy Institute of California of five fiscally troubled states found voters believe education and health care are the core functions of government and should not be cut, even though they eat up a majority of most state budgets — in some cases up to two-thirds of all spending.

Kasich wants to cut taxes and campaigned on a promise to try to phase out the state’s income tax. To trim costs, he has proposed diverting nonviolent offenders from prisons and taking on public-employee unions.


1Thinker(15 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

Sooo, F&E, is your friend Kasich going to help ya out?

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2faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

So Kasick wants to set the criminals free, attack the working people and small business, and stop collecting income tax. Ya, this is gonna be fun.

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3unhappyvoter1(87 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

we are in a major depression, and there should not be democrat or republican. it should be hard working people making the decisions. because the rich keep getting richer and the middle class and poor keep going downhill. we are in big trouble. pretty soon there will be no jobs for anyone.

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4Traveler(606 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

In a way I for one am very happy about how bad the economy has got. It is forcing us to take a hard look at many broken programs and laws in our government.
You now have politician acknowledging that hand outs (welfare) has to be cut. That free trade and globalization isnt good for the american economy.
That the Federal Reserve is a lobbying group for major banks and does what is best for wall street and as such is part of the problem. That Fannie and Freddy mack are government programs that have gotten out of control and ether need cut back drastically or end.
That our drug laws dont help and cost way to much for the results we get. That we are losing the drug war and need to come up with different solutions. Before it cost us our society.

I know that still alot of politicians still want to act like nothing needs changed. Fight to keep the things the same not improve the shape the country is in. The reason being is the know how to make personal profit in bribes off the status quo.

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5redvert(2226 comments)posted 5 years, 4 months ago

As it should be FairandEqual. The sad fact is that too many politicians can do no wrong. Case in point, Charlie Rangel who was recently censured by the House was reelected by a 80% margin in November. I used a democrat in this example but it is true for both parties.

Until the voters start making examples out of these clowns, nothing will change.

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