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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