Dire States

State budgets in crisis. Out of money. Running out of time. Painful cuts ahead. Maybe tax hikes. We’ll check-in around the country.

Rally protests budget cuts at the Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, Ill., April, 2010. (AP)

Rally protests budget cuts at the Illinois State Capitol, Springfield, Ill., April, 2010. (AP)

Across this land, cities, towns and states are wrapping up their fiscal years and trying to nail down budgets for 2011.

And it’s an ugly time in state houses and city halls in Albany, Trenton, Raleigh, Sacramento, Phoenix and more.

Huge budget shortfalls in forty-six states. Federal stimulus money is drying up at the worst possible time. That means closed libraries, fewer teachers, firemen and cops. Most of the fat was trimmed long ago. Now, the real meat of good government is on the chopping block.

This hour, On Point: The dire financial straits in American towns, cities and states.


Governor Bill Ritter, Jr. of Colorado will join us from the Western Governors’ Association annual conference in Whitefish, Montana.

Aaron McLear, spokesman for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California joins us from Los Angeles.

Nicholas Johnson, Director of the State Fiscal Project at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities joins us from Washington, DC.

Mayor Chris Bollwage of Elizabeth, New Jersey.

John Micek covers Pennsylvania state politics for the Allentown Morning Call newspaper and joins us from Harrisburg, PA.

And later this hour, remembering West Virginia Senator Robert Byrd.

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Nov 25, 2015
President Barack Obama, accompanied by Pulitzer Prize winning Iowa writer Marilynne Robinson, arrives to the State Library of Iowa in the Ola Babcock Miller Building, Monday, Sept. 14, 2015, in Des Moines. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

On the day before Thanksgiving, we talk with Marilynne Robinson – one of America’s greatest authors, thinkers, moralists — about fear and hope in a hard, frightening time.

Nov 25, 2015
Three of baker Renee McLeoud's delicious pies, on display in the WBUR studios. (Robin Lubbock/WBUR)

Bring your appetite! We’re gathering around the radio table with three chefs and new Thanksgiving recipes.

Nov 24, 2015
An archival image of a McKinley - Hobart Presidential Campaign Poster from 1896. (Public Domain / WikiCommons)

Republican political strategist Karl Rove is thinking about the McKinley 1896 campaign and the GOP field right now. Karl Rove is with us.

Nov 24, 2015
This photo made from the footage taken from Russian Defense Ministry official web site Monday, Nov. 23, 2015 shows fuel tanks  hit during the attack of Russian warplanes in Syria. Russian warplanes on Monday attacked oil extraction, transport and refinement facilities in areas controlled by Islamic State militants. (AP Photo/Russian Defense Ministry Press Service)

ISIS, Inc. The terrorist organization is raking in billions –from oil, grain, antiquities, and taxes. We look at how to break the ISIS bank. Plus, Turkey downs a Russian plane. We’ll have the latest.

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