States' Rites

August 2003
New Republic;8/11/2003-8/18/2003, Vol. 229 Issue 6, p15
Want to know why Gray Davis may soon become only the second governor in United States history to be popularly removed from office? One reason may be California's $38 billion deficit. And, while governors in other states are not about to be recalled, many other state budgets are troubled--48 of the 50 are currently in the red. The problem, many insist, is a lack of federal largesse. In fiscal 2002, Washington gave $412 billion to the states, more than it spent on defense, while running a $158 billion deficit. State and city government employment has increased in the past decade as federal government employment has declined. No one likes tax increases, but reducing federal contributions to the states, while revamping the system so that state and local taxes rise while federal taxes fall, would be attractive on several levels. Many U.S. presidents--Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush--were governors who ran against Washington while boasting of how well they administered their own state's fiscal houses.


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