Keep State's Woes From Dragging Down Economy

Now is no time to require balanced budgets
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Dec 29, 2008 10:13 AM CST
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, at podium, and governors from across the country take questions during a news conference at the National Governors Association, in Philadelphia, Tuesday, Dec. 2, 2008.   (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
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(Newser) – When the economy goes south, the government has no business aiming for a balanced budget. But all 50 governors are faced with slashing spending to do so, and “at the expense both of their most vulnerable constituents and of the nation’s economic future,” Paul Krugman writes in the New York Times.

It’s not entirely their fault: Most governors are required to balance their budgets. And though some have been irresponsible—Arnold Schwarzenegger's deficits are bigger than those of recalled predecessor Gray Davis—“even the best-run states are in deep trouble.” For now, the feds should bail the states out. Once this is over, though, we should consider using federal money for key public services.