Lean Times Prove Taxing for State Budgets

Shortfalls mean serious cost-cutting, fee hikes across US
By Jim O'Neill,  Newser User
Posted Jul 24, 2008 9:29 AM CDT
With gas prices soaring, state police agencies nationwide are scrambling to find the money to cover costs.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Reduced sales, income, and corporate taxes are forcing states to cut back on services and consider laying off workers as they look for ways to slash spending and balance budgets, the Wall Street Journal reports. The National Conference of State Legislatures says states face a $40 billion budget shortfall as the US economy continues to wallow.

"We expect it to get worse before it gets better," said an NCSL rep, with numbers backed by the Fed. Governors have implemented belt-tightening measures, cutting costs while increasing fees like tuition at state universities. “For us it was a matter of, ‘Are we going to take professors out of the classroom, or are we going to raise tuition?’” said a rep at Virginia Tech, which has raised tuition 11%.