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The LATEST from NJ

    • Stateline Story
    April 1, 2010
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    TODAY'S TAKE: President Obama's announcement Wednesday (March 31) that the federal government would allow new offshore oil and gas drilling, primarily off the East Coast, received a mixed reaction from governors of the affected states. Some saw it as long-overdue while others raised economic and environmental concerns. But the reactions did not break down along party lines.
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    • Stateline Story
    March 24, 2010
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    TODAY'S TAKE: In what The Wall Street Journal called a political "sea change," New Jersey Governor Chris Christie this week signed legislation scaling back retirement benefits for government workers in the traditionally union-friendly state. The move comes as many states face stark gaps between what they have promised their employees and what they have on hand to fulfill those promises.
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    • Stateline Story
    March 9, 2010
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    If the United States Senate followed the rules of the New Jersey General Assembly, it wouldn't take 60 votes for Democrats to overcome a Republican filibuster. It would take 75, or three-quarters of the chamber, one of the highest such thresholds of any legislative body in the nation. So why don't filibusters grind business to a halt in New Jersey as they do in the U.S. Senate?
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    • Stateline Story
    March 4, 2010
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    Idaho Reports is a weekly news program about politics that appears all over the state on public television. Normally it's quite civil. But one recent show took an awkward turn when the host asked about Governor Butch Otter's proposal to eliminate the program's funding. "Can you give us an update," moderator Thanh Tan asked, "on where we stand in terms of the agencies that face a possible phase-out…which includes the agency that produces this program?"  Guest Wayne Hammon, the state budget director, replied that "the governor felt he had no other choice." The challenges that Idaho Public Television is facing are emblematic of the decisions that public television agencies and stations around the country will have to make if states decide that public television is no longer a business they can afford to be in. According to the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), state and local funding for public television stations nationwide declined by $36 million between 2008 and 2009. CPB forecasts an additional $45 to $49 million in state and local cuts for the upcoming fiscal year.
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    • Stateline Story
    March 3, 2010
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    The funeral home director in Pennsylvania and hair dresser in Michigan may soon have something in common with the yoga instructor in Missouri and limo driver in New York. Their customers may have to pay a state sales tax. With tax revenues at a historic low and federal stimulus dollars drying up, states are eying adding a sales tax to some of the 180 services that states could be taxing but most don't, ranging from pet grooming and dating services to dental and legal services. The change would be a fundamental shift in states' tax systems, but the proposals are running into stiff opposition from the business community.
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    • Stateline Story
    February 26, 2010
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    Economists credit the federal stimulus package for helping bring an end to the recession. Most governors say the money prevented more drastic spending cuts and tax increases in their states. But a few Republican governors who took the money contend the stimulus was a mistake.
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    • Stateline Story
    February 22, 2010
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    Faced with historic revenue drops, states have tapped their rainy day funds in fiscal 2009 and 2010 at levels not seen since the 2001 recession to help close budget gaps totaling some $290 billion. The decision to go to these funds has renewed the debate about how much states should be setting aside in reserves and when to use the money. A few states, meanwhile, have been able to leave their funds intact.
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    • Stateline Story
    February 22, 2010
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    TODAY'S TAKE: The fiscal year that begins in July for most states will be "the most difficult to date," according to a survey of 45 states released at the winter meeting of the National Governors Association.
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    • Stateline Story
    February 19, 2010
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    Since legislatures convened last month, at least 16 states are weighing changes to their worker pension plans. Employees, retirees and unions say they will contest some of the proposals.
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  • February 18, 2010
    Fact Sheets: The Trillion Dollar Gap

    Fact Sheets: The Trillion Dollar Gap

    This 2010 report on funding state employee retirement benefits examined the roots of states' significant shortfall and how the economic crisis spurred states into action.

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