TLP: If You Think It Could Be Worse, You're Probably Right
The ugliness of state budget cuts apparently is not over.
A Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report has the dismal details:
With tax revenue still declining as a result of the recession and budget reserves largely drained, the vast majority of states have made spending cuts that hurt families and reduce necessary services. These cuts, in turn, have deepened states’ economic problems because families and businesses have less to spend. Federal recovery act dollars and funds raised from tax increases have greatly reduced the extent, severity, and economic impact of these cuts, but only to a point. And federal aid to states is slated to expire soon, well before state revenues have recovered.If that's too grim to slog through, have a peek at The Huffington Post's slideshow of the worst-case highlights. It's no less depressing, but there are pictures!
The cuts enacted in at least 46 states plus the District of Columbia since 2008 have occurred in all major areas of state services, including health care (31 states), services to the elderly and disabled (29 states and the District of Columbia), K-12 education (33 states and the District of Columbia), higher education (43 states), and other areas. States made these cuts because revenues from income taxes, sales taxes, and other revenue sources used to pay for these services declined due to the recession. At the same time, the need for these services did not decline and, in fact, rose as the number of families facing economic difficulties increased.
These budget pressures have not abated and, in fact, are increasing. Because unemployment rates remain high — and are projected to stay high well into next year — revenues are likely to remain at or near their current depressed levels. This has caused a new round of cuts. Based on gloomy revenue projections, legislatures and governors in most states have enacted budgets for the 2011 fiscal year (which began on July 1, 2010 in most states) with cuts that go even further than those enacted over the past two fiscal years.