State and local governments have cut back spending to the lowest level in 30 years, according to a USA Today analysis. Both Democrats and Republicans are denying handouts, even with tax revenue going up and powerful interest groups lobbying for funds. Local and state spending dipped 0.8% this year (2.7% with inflation) to $2.4 trillion. This belt-tightening "represents the longest, sustained period of financial restraint since the early 1980s," writes Dennis Cauchon.
"We're seeing some incredibly significant examples of groups not getting what they want," says the head of the National Association of State Budget Officers. "Maybe there's an acceptance that cuts have to occur." A few examples:
- Connecticut's state trooper force shrank from 1,248 to 1,060 even after the troopers' union endorsed Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy.
- In Ohio, GOP Gov. John Kasich sliced $30 million from nursing home payments.
- In Louisiana, GOP Gov. Bobby Jindal trimmed prison expenses by lightening penalties for non-violent offenders.