Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Debts of the Spenders: States Face Looming Budget Gaps

Chronic addicts to debt face imminent funding shortfalls.

States brace for shutdowns

Time is running out for the legislatures in Arizona, California, Indiana, Mississippi and Pennsylvania to solve budget gaps.
By P.J. Huffstutter and Nicholas Riccardi
June 30, 2009
Reporting from Indianapolis and Denver -- The last time Indiana missed its deadline for passing a budget and had to shut down the government was during the Civil War.

But on Monday, as lawmakers raced to hammer out an agreement over school funding, state agencies began preparing 31,000 workers to be temporarily out of a job. Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels has warned residents that most of the state's services -- including its parks, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and state-regulated casinos -- would be shuttered unless a budget is passed today.

Indiana is one of five states -- along with Arizona, California, Mississippi and Pennsylvania -- bracing for possible shutdowns this week as time runs out for lawmakers to close billion-dollar gaps in their fiscal 2010 budgets.

Of the 46 states whose fiscal year ends today, 32 did not have budgets passed and approved by their governors as of Monday afternoon, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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