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State budgets: $28 billion short this year

Thirty-six states face budget shortfalls totaling $28 billion in the fiscal year that began just five months ago, according to a new 50-state report. The assessment predicts another $56 billion in shortfalls across 35 states next fiscal year and $69 billion in shortfalls across 23 states the year after that.

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Lottery big part of state’s financial plans, but first voters must vote to keep it

While other contributors to state revenues have dropped off severely of late, the Arizona Lottery has been a growing source of tens of millions of dollars per year since its inception in 1980. The lottery funds a variety of voter-approved state programs in areas such as education, health and transportation and has contributed $2.3 billion in all to its beneficiaries.

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Highway money on states’ radar

States are hoping that a job-creating initiative to be outlined by President Obama on Dec. 8 will include billions of dollars for infrastructure projects. Meanwhile, recession-worn Michigan may be ineligible for $475 million in federal highway money next year because it can't find $84 million in matching state funds.

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Flagstaff council rejects 4 day week

FLAGSTAFF - Saving an estimated $40,000 a year is not enough incentive for Flagstaff to go to a four-day work week for city workers. The City Council had been asked to consider implementing an alternative work schedule for nonessential city employees.

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After furloughs, states mull permanent cuts

Moving from furloughs of state employees to more permanent downsizing, states are girding for the deepest workforce cuts yet when they hammer out their fiscal 2011 budgets next year. In preparation, many are taking stock of every position in state government to determine what effect job cuts and the possible elimination of whole departments will have on revenues, expenses and the quality of government services.

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As recession lingers, Arizona food banks long on business, short on donations

The hundreds of cars lined up Nov. 25 for frozen turkeys and bags of food from St. Mary's Food Bank Alliance were three times the number at the same event last year. "We knew that our demand was going to go up for the holidays, but it has stunned us how much it went up this week," said Beverly Damore, a spokeswoman for the organization.

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