Meridian Star

National News

February 22, 2010

Governors brace for more economic turmoil

MERIDIAN —     WASHINGTON (AP) — On the recession’s front lines, governors are struggling to chart the road ahead for states staggered by unrelenting joblessness and cut-to-the-bone budgets even as Washington reports signs of economic growth.

    ‘‘The worst probably is yet to come,’’ warned Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vt., chairman of the National Governors Association, at the group’s meeting Saturday. He called the situation ‘‘fairly poor’’ in most states, adding that it ‘‘doesn’t look too good.’’

    Such uncertainty weighed heavily over the governors’ weekend meeting even though health care — and how states can address skyrocketing costs — was the intended focus. That’s recognized as one of the biggest issues affecting states’ long-term solvency.

    As the meeting opened, first lady Michelle Obama sought governors’ help in her campaign to tackle childhood obesity, though she acknowledged, ‘‘I know that many of you are stretched thinner than ever in these times and don’t actually have money to spare.’’

    It’s true.

    States face budget holes totaling $134 billion over the next three years, according to the governors, who explained that tax collections keep declining as Medicaid costs soar. High unemployment persists. States cut 18,000 jobs in January alone and more job losses are anticipated. Because states are required to balance their budgets, shortfalls will be made up by raising taxes or fees or cutting services.

    Neither is easy in an election year where 37 states are poised to vote for new chief executives.

    While the national economy has grown in recent months, the situation is deteriorating in the states. People are feeling the fallout daily, from fewer services to higher fees. It’s a trend consistent with other recessions; states usually experience their worst budget years in the two years after a recession ends.

    ‘‘A year ago we were facing an economic abyss. The president pulled us back from the brink. But we have more to do,’’ said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, the head of the Democratic Governors Association.

    There seemed to be unanimous agreement that job creation was the key to recovery in states.

    ‘‘Our folks want to get back to work,’’ said Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J.

    Added Gov. Martin O’Malley, D-Md.: ‘‘It’s the only way that we’re going to get out of this recession.’’

    Nationwide, governors are drawing up plans to boost jobs and address the financial crisis that has led to repeated budget cuts and raids on rainy day funds. States have put a big dent in the $135 billion in federal stimulus money they got last year to soften the blow.

    Governors are hoping for an infusion of cash, perhaps $25 billion, in the latest jobs measure that Congress is debating. The national unemployment rate fell to 9.7 percent in January, but 17 states entered 2010 with double-digit joblessness.

    ‘‘We need the administration and the Congress, members of both parties, to work to make sure a robust jobs bill is passed as quickly as possible so we can start seeing the benefits,’’ Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland said. He joined fellow Democrats at a news conference to call for an extension of soon-expiring unemployment benefits and more access to working capital.

    The governors were holding sessions on the economy, energy, health care and education with Cabinet officials during the three-day gathering. Those issues, along with the jobs measure, are certain topics of discussion when governors head to the White House on Monday for a meeting with President Barack Obama. Democrats and Republicans alike said they hoped to press for more relief for states.

    In the coming year, state tax collections are projected to continue to be far lower than expected because real estate values are plunging, people are losing their jobs and consumers are curtailing spending. Demand for services such as Medicaid, food stamps and unemployment benefits is all but certain to keep rising.

    People fretting about disappearing jobs and drying up unemployment benefits will feel the effects of whatever governors decide to do. Tough budget times typically translate into new tolls on roads, more prisoners released early to save money, the end of some state welfare programs and steeper tuition at public colleges.

    Republican and Democratic governors alike risk the ire of voters angry over high unemployment and sour on incumbents of any political stripe largely because of the poor economic conditions.

    Among the most vulnerable Democrats seeking re-election are Strickland and Chet Culver of Iowa. Some of the Republicans in the same boat include Jan Brewer in Arizona and Jim Gibbons in Nevada.

    The economy also is certain to put the party in power’s hold on governors mansions in doubt in a slew of other states, including Republican-held California and Florida, and Democratic-held Michigan and New York.

    ‘‘The governors who raise taxes will be hurt worse than the governors who have cut spending,’’ predicted Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, chairman of the Republican Governors Association. He said people tend to give leaders credit who make tough choices to tighten their own belts in times of crisis.

    ———

    On the Net:

    National Governors Association: http://www.nga.org

1
Text Only
National News
  • Bin Laden Obama: Al-Qaida head bin Laden dead

         Osama bin Laden, the glowering mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks that murdered thousands of Americans, was killed in an operation led by the United States, President Barack Obama said Sunday.
        A small team of Americans killed bin Laden in a firefight Sunday at a compound in Pakistan, the president said in a dramatic late-night statement at the White House.

    May 2, 2011 1 Photo

  • Governors' races offer heated skirmishes

         WASHINGTON (AP) - Some of the sharpest bare-knuckle skirmishes this election season are the races for governor, especially in states shouldering the highest unemployment rates and largest tax increases.
        Many also are important in presidential elections, and both parties are pouring millions of dollars into statehouse races in the closing days of the campaign.

    October 25, 2010

  • Employers looking at health insurance options

         WASHINGTON (AP) - The new health care law wasn't supposed to undercut employer plans that have provided most people in the U.S. with coverage for generations.
        But last week a leading manufacturer told workers their costs will jump partly because of the law. Also, a Democratic governor laid out a scheme for employers to get out of health care by shifting workers into taxpayer-subsidized insurance markets that open in 2014.

    October 25, 2010

  • Governors brace for more economic turmoil

        WASHINGTON (AP) — On the recession’s front lines, governors are struggling to chart the road ahead for states staggered by unrelenting joblessness and cut-to-the-bone budgets even as Washington reports signs of economic growth.
        ‘‘The worst probably is yet to come,’’ warned Gov. Jim Douglas, R-Vt., chairman of the National Governors Association, at the group’s meeting Saturday. He called the situation ‘‘fairly poor’’ in most states, adding that it ‘‘doesn’t look too good.’’

    February 22, 2010

  • office arrests.jpg Senator's Office-Arrests

    Four men accused of trying to tamper with Democratic U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu's office phones shared a common experience as young ideologues writing for conservative publications.

    January 27, 2010 1 Photo

  • (10:18 a.m.) Runaway Convert Runaway Ohio girl to remain free of Muslim parents

    January 20, 2010

  • (9:01 a.m.) Haiti-Americans US husband saves wife trapped in Haiti rubble

    January 13, 2010

  • (1:58 p.m.) Hubble Photo Hubble telescope shows earliest photo of universe

    January 5, 2010

  • (8:41 a.m.) Border GPS Phone points illegal border crossers to water

    December 29, 2009

  • (8:53 a.m.) Airline Scare No danger on Sunday flight _ just an ill passenger

    December 28, 2009

Biz Marquee
New Today
Poll

Do you think the city of Meridian should aggressively enforce the city's code enforcement laws on litter, abandoned homes and overgrown lots by issuing tickets and stiff fines?

Yes
No
     View Results
Facebook
Facebook
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction Malaysian PM: Stop Fighting in Ukraine Cantor Warns of Instability, Terror in Farewell Ravens' Ray Rice: 'I Made a Huge Mistake' Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers Small Plane Crash in San Diego Parking Lot Busy Franco's Not Afraid of Overexposure Fighting Blocks Access to Ukraine Crash Site Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida Workers Dig for Survivors After India Landslide Texas Scientists Study Ebola Virus Smartphone Powered Paper Plane Debuts at Airshow Southern Accent Reduction Class Cancelled in TN
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide