The 2011 fiscal year for 46 states begins in 10 days. In many cases it is a countdown to financial doom.
Despite what you may have heard from conservative sources, state and local government have been cutting and cutting. 231,000 state and local government jobs have vanished since August 2008 – 22,000 in just the past month. Most of those jobs were at the local level, such as police, firefighters, and school teachers.
The fat has already been trimmed. The muscle has been cut into. There is nothing left to cut but bone.
At least 19 states are getting the saws ready, because knives won’t cut bone.
According to Mark Zandi, the chief economist at Moody’s, states are facing a budget gap of $180 billion next year. The shortfall could lead to the destruction of 900,000 jobs at the state level, an employment source that is often thought of as an economic safety net.