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Govs ready speeches as fiscal woes persist

As governors prepare their 2010 state of the state addresses, at least 36 of them are still struggling to close continuing budget deficits for the current fiscal year, while worrying about new gaps looming in their 2011 spending plans. The shortfalls show no signs of going away as state revenue continues to fall far below projections, leaving some lawmakers and the public poised to rethink the role of state government.

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States look toward expanded gambling for revenue

Long after the recession ends, one of its most visible legacies is likely to be more places - and ways - for Americans to gamble. Pennsylvania lawmakers in October ended the nation's longest state budget standoff by counting on some $250 million in revenue that would be raised by legalizing and taxing casino table games, such as blackjack, craps and roulette.

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Nightmare scenarios haunt states

One question keeps coming up as governors and legislators grapple with a seemingly never-ending stream of gloomy budget news that keeps getting worse: How bad can it get? The answer, according to experts and a look through history, is probably that it could get worse than it has been in a generation - maybe even a lifetime - but not catastrophic.

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Behind open doors, states track stimulus money

What do an FBI fraud team, a showdown between a governor and the legislature, and a sophisticated online system called geographic information systems have in common? All are part of states' efforts to ensure that billions in federal stimulus money are spent wisely within their borders.

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Credit unions help strapped state employees

As state employees across the country are being hammered by layoffs, pay cuts and forced unpaid days off, some state employees' credit unions are stepping in to help workers get through these tough times. Services include a variety of loan programs and even one Web site for recession and job-related tips.

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State tax hikes take aim at top earners

Two months into the current fiscal year and still without a budget, Connecticut state senators voted at 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 1 to send Gov. M. Jodi Rell (R) a spending plan that generates revenue by hiking income taxes on the state's wealthiest residents.

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Budget cuts test state personnel policies

Forced to dramatically cut payrolls, some states are finding low-cost ways to boost employee morale, even as they struggle to maintain basic human resource functions such as training, recruiting, hiring and regular performance reviews.

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Weekly wrap: Rising Medicaid bill a growing concern for states

New Mexico may foreshadow a Medicaid crisis facing states next year as the federal economic stimulus money dwindles. During a recent PowerPoint presentation by New Mexico Human Services Secretary Pam Hyde to state lawmakers, she said the state's Medicaid program could be facing a shortfall of up to $300 million by 2011 unless costs are contained. The stimulus money will be gone by then, she stressed in an interview with The New Mexico Independent.

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