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Tax Hikes, State Deficit Nightmares

Illinois hikes its income taxes 67 percent to help close its budget deficit. We look at states swimming in red ink, and the way out.

Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, left, and Rep. Jack D. Franks, D-Woodstock, right, at the State Capitol in Springfield, Ill., Jan. 13, 2011. (AP)

American states – state governments – are in trouble. They are facing deficits and budget gaps like never before — huge, wide gaps that the federal government won’t cover.  The gaps are so big they swallow up cutbacks faster than many statehouses can cut.

Now one of the most hard-pressed states, Illinois, has pulled the emergency cord – raising state income taxes overnight, in a desperate, midnight move, by 67 percent in one go.

Illinois’ “fiscal house,” said the governor, “was burning.”

We look at state budgets in turmoil, and extreme measures on the way.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Ray Long, statehouse reporter for the Chicago Tribune.

J. Fred Giertz, professor of economics and faculty member of the Institute for Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. He’s executive director of the National Tax Association.

Susan K. Urahn, managing director of the Pew Center on the States, a division of the Pew Charitable Trusts that identifies and advances effective solutions to critical issues facing states.

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Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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Aug 28, 2015
Lightning first ignited the Meadow fire on July 20, 2014 in Yosemite. By September 8, the fire had charred 2,582 acres. Bernie Krause has recorded soundscapes of national parks destroyed by large areas of forest fires. Listen below.  (National Park Service)

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Aug 28, 2015
WDBJ-TV7 meteorologist Leo Hirsbrunner, right, wipes his eyes during the early morning newscast as anchors Kimberly McBroom, center, and guest anchor Steve Grant deliver the news at the station in Roanoke, Va., Thursday, Aug. 27, 2015. Reporter Alison Parker and cameraman Adam Ward were killed during a live broadcast Wednesday, while on assignment in Moneta. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

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