States will have to find additional spending cuts of $32 billion for current budgets before even beginning to tackle $65 billion in deficits shaping up for the next fiscal year, the National Conference of State Legislatures reported Dec. 4. States have already closed a $40 billion gap since the start of the fiscal year, which was July 1 for all but four states.
"These budget gaps are approaching those seen in the last recession, which were the worst since World War II, and show every sign of growing larger," William T. Pound, NCSL's executive director said in a statement.
Legislatures will either have to raise taxes or cut programs since, unlike the federal government, states must balance their budgets. The poor, in particular, face the prospect of losing government-sponsored health care coverage or reduced-priced lunches at school.
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