State News Roundup

January 13, 2011

Here’s a look at some of this week’s most interesting, and consequential, budget- and economy-related issues in the 50 states:

Yesterday, the AP detailed Illinois’ approval of a 66% state income-tax increase in an effort to close the state’s estimated $15 billion budget gap. An Illinois taxpayer who previously paid $1,000 in state income taxes will now pay $1,666. Lawmakers shot down a dollar-per-pack cigarette tax, which was purported to fund schools.

Bloomberg noted Florida Governor Rick Scott’s ambitious goal of closing the state’s projected $3.5 billion deficit using spending cuts this past Tuesday. “We have enough money in the state budget,” said Scott. “What we have to do is make sure we don’t waste a dollar.”  Scott also said Florida’s budget gap is “nothing” in comparison to states facing larger gaps.

California Governor Jerry Brown isn’t leaving anything off the table while looking to trim the state’s $25-billion budget gap. Tuesday’s L.A. Times highlighted plans to cut waste, which include: 48,000 state employees returning their taxpayer-funded cell phones by June 1, and reducing the number of state-owned vehicles to “only vehicles necessary for critical state functions.”

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