PLEDGE NOW
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.
>

Guests:

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.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Feb 8, 2016
Sign stands outside property for rent Friday, Nov. 20, 2015, in south Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

If it feels like rents are sky-high, you’re right. Some now paying more than half their income on rent. Some say crisis. We’ll dig in.

Feb 8, 2016
Legendary film critic  Roger Ebert in an archival image from his early days at the Chicago Sun-Times. (Flickr / WikiCommons)

The critic speaks. The New York Times’ A.O. Scott on how to think about art, pleasure, beauty and truth.

RECENT
SHOWS
Feb 5, 2016
A portion of the cover of Ben Ratliff's new book, "Every Song Ever." (Courtesy Farar, Straus and Giroux / The Publisher)

How to choose music in an age when everything is online and always there. New York Times music critic Ben Ratliff shows the way.

 
Feb 5, 2016
Republican presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas mingles at a campaign event at Robie's Country Store, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016, in Hooksett, N.H. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Ted Cruz, Clinton and Sanders out of Iowa. Zika panic. Syrian peace talks fall apart. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Notes From New Hampshire, #4: Donald Trump — You Heard It First!
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Jack Beatty recounts an evening rally with Republican Presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, and wonders if the billionaire businessman is really looking for an exit.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: February 5, 2016
Friday, Feb 5, 2016

Spread the word — we FINALLY have both a new website (in beta) and a new newsletter. Sign up, visit and see what’s happening in the On Point digital universe.

More »
Comment
 
Notes From New Hampshire, #3: Jeb Bush — Cry for Me, America!
Thursday, Feb 4, 2016

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R) asked a New Hampshire audience to clap for him — and our own Jack Beatty was there to hear it.

More »
Comment