We’ve been saying for some time now that the budget problems in the states is at some point going to be a big problem, like a tornado-just-blew-my-house-away big. With the wife and kids in it. And the dog.
The 50 states currently face collectively a roughly $140 billion budget shortfall, and while California’s problems have been the most prominent, the Golden State is far from alone.
“The same pressures that drove (California) toward fiscal disaster are wreaking havoc in a number of states, with potentially damaging consequences for the entire country,” the Pew Center said in a fresh report. The report looks at the 10 states in the worst shape: California, Nevada, Arizona, Oregon, Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, Rhode Island and <snif!> my beloved (and often concurrently reviled) New Jersey.
It’s a gathering storm, to be sure, being held back at present only by federal stimulus largesse, as the Journal reported yesterday:
Once stimulus funds have been accounted for, states still face a combined deficit of $142 billion for fiscal 2011, up from $113 billion for the current fiscal year, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.