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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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Six senators, one legislative district: Eastern states wrestle with moving away from multi-member districts

In September 2010, Channel 17 in Burlington, Vt., held a multi-candidate debate among aspirants for the state Senate in the local district. Then it held another one. And another. And another. But here’s the interesting part: No candidate appeared more than once. There were 16 different people running for the Senate in the Chittenden County district. If six Democrats, six Republicans and an assortment of third-party candidates had tried to crowd onto one stage, the result would have been chaos.