States are having the same budget woes as the federal government. The difference is, they aren't mortgaging our children's future by borrowing from the Chinese.
That's a good thing, but it's a painful thing: It means some tough choices have to be made to balance budgets.
"Legislators in more than a half-dozen states, their revenues evaporating in the recession," writes the Associated Press, "frantically worked to stave off government shutdowns and devastating service cuts. California failed to meet a midnight deadline and now may need to issue IOUs instead of paying bills."
In many cases, governors are running into stubborn legislators who simply can't see that the party's over and the good times aren't rolling anymore. The lawmakers, worried about their own political necks, don't want to be blamed for cutting essential services or temporary government shutdowns.
The cowards. Man up, as they say, and do the jobs you were elected to do and quit dodging the issue.
The budget disaster is most pronounced in California.
"Fallout from California's budget mess threatened to spread nationwide because of the sheer size of the state's economy," writes the Associated Press. "The Senate rejected three bills designed to save $5 billion, including $3.3 billion in education funding cuts that had to be enacted before Wednesday."
This recession doesn't seem to be going anywhere fast, and the private sector has had to tighten its belt as never before since the Great Depression. It's time for governments to do the same.
After its legislature failed to balance the budget by the July 1 deadline Wednesday, California was turning to IOUs -- leaving vendors in the lurch. Democrats, who control the Golden State's legislature, pushed for higher taxes -- the easy way out. Only politicians have that option of, when they get in a pinch, taking more money from others. The rest of us have to get by, make cuts, do with less.
These people need to get a clue, so here's one: California has seen the biggest drop in personal income tax revenues since the 1930s. That should tell Democratic leaders that they're fishing in a dry hole.
We wish the federal government would stop spending us into oblivion. But that may never happen as long as Congress can borrow, borrow, borrow and put off the day of reckoning.
Thankfully, that day is here for most states. But some are dealing with it better than others.
Lawmakers in Delaware, New Jersey, Oregon and Wisconsin raised income taxes, while governors in Illinois and Pennsylvania pushed for them. Massachusetts raised its sales tax.
Raising taxes in the depths of a recession is like visiting someone in the intensive care unit and asking him to go get you a carryout pizza.